Less than one per cent of unemployed youth get support from the government safety nets, a new report published by Jobberman Nigeria, has revealed.

According to the report, while social safety nets have substantially impacted the global fight against poverty and socio-economic vulnerabilities, the gaps in their impact in Nigeria reflect limited coverage and weak targeting.

In Nigeria, the Federal government has set up different social intervention programmes to address the country’s unemployment challenges.

Some of these programmes include Youth Enterprise with Innovation in Nigeria; the SURE-P Technical Vocational Education; Graduate Internship Scheme and Training Programme; Youth Employment in Agriculture Programme; N-Power, Government Economic Empowerment Program and the Conditional Cash Transfer.

According to Jobberman, there is a huge exodus of talent from the country, popularly called ‘Japa,’ while layoffs, retrenchment, and termination of contractual work arrangements are common in many sectors of the economy.

The career promotion platform in the report claimed that Nigeria’s youth unemployment rate had been increasing on a yearly average of six per cent over the past five years.

The latest data from the National Bureau of Statistics put unemployment at 4.1 per cent in the first quarter of 2023.

The agency had put unemployment at 33 per cent in Q4 2020.

The NBS changed its methodology in the computation of the country’s unemployment rate in the first quarter of this year.

The latest unemployment figure had been faulted by the former Statistician-General of Federation/Chief Executive Officer of the National Bureau of Statistics, Dr Yemi Kale.

He claimed that he resisted the urge to further change the country’s unemployment data-gathering methodology during his time as head of the statistics body.

Kale stated that the income generated from 20 hours of work in Nigeria would equate to that made from working one hour in the US.

He said, “This is why I resisted (changing the unemployment-gathering methodology) for 10 years because it did not make any sense in terms of providing the information that our policymakers need. So, the 20 hours was set because the committee that was set up, which included the ILO, presented their findings and they decided that one hour did not make sense because the income you will generate on an average from one hour’s work was not going to work.”

According to the Jobberman report, each geopolitical zone in the country has its share of unemployment, indicating that young people in the North East and North West region are predisposed to longer unemployment durations compared to other regions of the country.

In the North East, about 32 per cent had been unemployed for 3-5 years, while about 30 per cent had been unemployed for over 5 years.

Despite its huge advantage over other regions, over 60 per cent of unemployed youth in the South West were stuck between one and two years.

About 39.42 per cent of unemployed youth in the South East had been without work for at least three years.

In the South-South, about 39 per cent had been unemployed for at least three years, and about 16 per cent of this figure had been without work for over five years.

The report also disclosed that unemployed women were less likely to work and likely to depend on their partners compared to men.

In his keynote address at the unemployment roundtable organised by Jobberman in collaboration with MasterCard Foundation, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Sterling Bank, Abubakar Suleiman said; “We need to separate ourselves from this idea that once I get the job, something gets solved. Once you get the job; you’re starting a whole new world out there.”

Speaking on the theme ‘How do young people survive without jobs?’, Suleiman said that there was a need for young people to see their work as a process of value creation.

He added, “The job is not a destination; it is a means of getting somewhere. What needs to happen is for us to create a new system. Because sometimes it sounds as if the job is a destination. I want to get a job and I’m done. But the job is not the destination.”

The Chief Executive Officer of The Africa Talent Company (parent company of Jobberman), Hilda Kragha, said women culturally got more empathy as opposed to men, who had been taught and programmed to be breadwinners and care for their families.

“We did some research last year around barriers to women in the workplace; there are many things we saw: The big one is a cultural aspect. If I’m going to go into a job, what happens to my family?”

For the CEO of Jobberman, Ore Boboye, the report indicated that ‘hustling’ was the major means of survival for unemployed youth in Nigeria.

In the local parlance, hustling means doing whatever job is available at the time.

According to him, unemployment and its effects remain the most significant issue young people have to deal with in Nigeria.

“From being labelled as ‘unemployable’ to the low rate of job creation, the unemployment statistics are only a lagging indicator of the realities of millions of Nigerian youth across all geopolitical zones of the country,” he noted.

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