Thousands of job seekers in Nigeria, especially graduates of tertiary institutions have remained unemployed for many years after graduation. NKIRU OKPALA writes on the reasons why many of these graduates still roam the streets seeking for jobs.
Most people especially graduates believe there is no reason an average Nigerian, graduate or not, cannot gainfully put a decent meal on his table or have a reliable source of income. But recently, most inexperienced graduates want to earn higher than their employers; they don’t want to start little. They don’t want to believe that most of these influential people started small.
According to Mr Izu Umeonwuka, sales manager, Aradu Lubricants, he feels that most graduates who are unemployed don’t have confidence in themselves.
In his words, “I don’t see any reason an average Nigerian graduate cannot be employed because the university prepares us to survive independently. More so, the three weeks we spend on NYSC camp prepares us for alternative means of livelihood should we not get employment afterwards?”
He doesn’t believe everybody must have a white collar job and condemns the way people blame government for being unemployed as there are some skills acquisition programmes we were taught during NYSC. Such skills like hand crafts, bead making, catering, and the likes.
Mrs Justina (not real name) a former banker and presently an entrepreneur, has it that it is only one’s experience that could fetch them a higher paid job. “One can only negotiate a higher salary if they are experts in the job being applied for. You don’t expect me to pay you over N100, 000 as salary and I will spend time and money to train you. That’s not good business.”
Arguably, most of our recent graduates still don’t believe in starting off with a meager pay. Rather they prefer to stay at home especially when they have sponsors or are from rich families. Those who do not even come from rich homes believe small income cannot cater for them let alone their families. But some believe in starting off with any amount in order to gain experience and prepare them for a wider view of employment world.
“My first job as a graduate paid me N7000 here in Lagos. My friends discouraged me from taking up the job because of the pay. But it was from that job that gave me the contacts I have today that got me to where I am today,” Ms. Nkechi Onye, a Time Share consultant, said.
She has it that anybody you ask how much they want to be paid, they easily say nothing less than one hundred as if they can yield such for the organization in a week. “The economic recession that happened years back is still affecting the employment world. These graduates should open their arms wide enough and come to terms with reality. Some people are even working based on commission only and some are out there waiting to be paid millions.”
In the same vein, some of these graduates are considering the environment in which they find themselves. For instance, those who served in places like Port Harcourt, Abuja and the likes want their employers to consider the high cost of living in such areas.
According to Ms Onye, she got a job for her friend in Abuja close to her house and she rejected the job simply because she would be paid N40,000 monthly. “One can imagine such a thing. Turning down such an offer simply means she’s comfortable staying at home because she needs to spend just N200 to and back from work.”
“Most of them are not ready to work, yet they blame the government for no job. There was a lady that has gone for her master’s and yet she’s not worked anywhere neither is she computer literate. In this jet age?” she wondered.
Mr Izu also queried the essence of the skills acquired during NYSC. “I believe such skills serve as alternative means of livelihood should one is not gainfully employed. My NYSC colleague is now a bank manager but he has his catering outfit where he bakes cakes, snacks, small chops and the likes.”