Tales, pains, lamentations of unemployed graduates
There are also numerous programmes and projects around vocational education and entrepreneurship in secondary schools and higher institutions, yet a lot of our youths are still idle.
According to statistics on Trading Economics’ website, the unemployment rate in Nigeria increased from 22.70 per cent in the second quarter of 2018 to 23.10 per cent in the third quarter of 2018 While employers are complaining that a large chunk of Nigerian graduates are unemployable, the affected graduates are of the view that employers are not ready to employ quality graduates.
Their argument was that most employers have abandoned transparent and credible method and embrace nepotism and ethnicity in their recruitment process, largely due to political and social reasons.
They insisted that until employment process in the country is conducted in the most credible and open manner, it is morally wrong to term Nigerian graduates unemployable, as a lot of them have not be given a platform to express themselves and showcase what they have learnt.
They were also of the view that age specifications and demand for three or six years experience on the job should be reviewed.
A graduate of Petroleum Engineering, Federal University of Petroleum Resources Effurun (FUPRE), Adewale Adebowale Oluleye, lamented that the Federal Government has no good engagement plan for the armies of youths exiting the higher institution on yearly basis.
Oluleye, who recently resigned from teaching job and established his own business out of frustration said, “Presently, the country is in a deep mess. As it is now majority of company owners will tell you that Nigerian graduates are not employable, but that is not always the case. Sometime ago, I went for a job examination and passed, then I was called for oral interview, of which I qualified, they now called me for technical presentation.
“Now the managing director of the company was highly impressed with my presentation but at the end of the day, I was not called.
He continued, “Those that are supposed to retire and bring in new hands and younger minds with new ideas are telling us that we are not employable. Have you given us the chance to function? Have you given us the opportunity to put down what we have learnt? Some other employers on the other hand will be demanding for five years experience for someone that graduated last year or so, how is that possible? The one I obtained while in school or while in the labour market seeking for employment?
On his past teaching experience, he said, “After searching for a job with no success, I joined a school as a mathematics teacher, after a while I started feeling like am into slavery, a petroleum engineer like me with 2.1 CGPA.
The fact is this, teaching is the only escape route for most Nigerian graduates, but at the end of the day, the private school owners will use and overuse you that you will question your self worth. Probably, because they know you need their stipend for survival. So now I have resigned and moved into e-commerce business.”
Another graduate, Blessing Onwughara, who studied Biochemistry at Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, said the lack of job has forced her to go into the profession she has no passion for, and that is teaching.
“I have applied for numerous jobs in the past one year and all my efforts were futile. Not that it wasn’t successful that is the big issue, but the emotional trauma and stressed that followed suit.
“Then, the Federal Road Safety Corps’ vacancy came; I participated in the entire test, written, oral, physical and otherwise. In the end, I got a letter to go back to my state of origin. From Lagos I travelled to Abia State. When I got home, the drilling continued, at the end of the day, I was not called. After they have given me hope, including my parents, then the next story was that it was done Nigerian style.
“The recruitment method in the country presently has brought mediocrity to the system. Graduates do not have equal chance and level playing ground anymore. Job advertisement is just for official purpose as most employers recruit their staff behind the scene, thus allowing poor and unsuspecting graduates to be running around spending money all in the name of undergoing interview and qualifying till the last stage. At the end of the day, you end up doing what you don’t want to do, like the teaching job am doing now, it is not my calling, but I have to do it to earn something at least.”
For Onyinye Favour Ezike, also a Petroleum Engineer from FUPRE, unemployment is responsible for high rate of crime in the country, as frustrated youths/graduates who have tried all they could without success are forced to go into anti-social and immoral acts, “the reason they desperately deal with their victims as if their victims are the cause of their frustration.”
“I have applied for different jobs/roles in so many companies. Some are not even petroleum-related because I believe I can work anywhere as a graduate, yet no job. It is tiring and frustrating. I read Petroleum Engineering and made second class upper division, but am frustrated.
“The most annoying aspect is that these employers will post advertisement and lure graduates to be killing themselves all in the name of going for job interviews.
She continued, “On one occasion, we wrote test, did oral interviews and presentations without success, but an insider later informed us that it is the company’s policy to advertise for every vacancy, meanwhile they give slot to all their staff and the rest is for the highly connected group. They allow us go through stress and spent the little money we had at that time. Most people that I know that have gotten job today were through connection.
On Nigerian graduates not being employable, Ezike said, “It is a big lie, employers are not ready to recruit quality graduates. They don’t give us opportunity to demonstrate our ability. Though, we have some unserious graduates, but the fact remains that they are not giving quality graduates opportunity.
“I went for job interview last four months and after the whole exercise, the managing director of the firm called me and commended my performance, he then advice that I look for bigger firm as they cannot afford to pay me. He said their salary budget will be too poor for me. This is a company that advertised for a graduate with good computer knowledge, at the end of the day, they recruited one OND and HND candidates.”
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