Home Economics Unemployment in Nigeria: Causes & Solutions

Unemployment in Nigeria: Causes & Solutions

Unemployment in Nigeria is the situation whereby some people who fall within the ages of the working population, capable and willing to work, are not able to due to certain conditions.


The problem of unemployment is becoming chronic without solution being in sight. It has constituted itself into one of the worst enemies of the people in this part of the world. It has also been exacerbated by the prevalent retrenchments, unbridled rural-urban migration, to mention but a few.

Types of Unemployment 

1. Underemployment

This is a situation whereby the potentialities of a worker are not fully utilised. There are financial, mental and physical underemployment.

It is financial when a worker is not getting equal pay to the work he/she is doing, mental when there is mismatch between the work a person is doing and what he studied, and physical when the worker is underutilised.

2. Frictional Unemployment:

This arises when people leave their current job with the hope of getting a better one but fail to do so at a given period of time. It may not be a temporary unemployment depending on the prevailing economic situation. Therefore, this is the period between the time the worker left their former jobs and the time of getting a new one.

3. Deficient Demand (Cyclical) Unemployment 

If there is a decrease in the quantity of goods demanded or there is over-production which results in fall in prices, industries will be affected. The workers affected will suffer from deficient or cyclical unemployment.

ALSO READ:  National Debt: Meaning and Types

4. Structural Unemployment 

This arises as a result of slight changes in the industrial structure of a country. Workers will be retrenched as a result of this caused by economic recession and it happened in Nigeria in 1984, when many firms folded up as a result of this.

5. Voluntary Unemployment 

This unemployment in Nigeria which is delibrate occurs when some people refuse to take up any paid employment or decide not to do any work. For example, some husbands may order their wives not to do any type of work but to stay at home as full time housewives.

6. Seasonal Unemployment 

This is caused by seasonal changes that affect some types of work. Workers that work in road construction companies remain unemployed during the rainy season. Also farmers stay idle during the time in between harvesting and planting periods.

7. Search Unemployment 

This arises when some people turn down offers to work in search of better paid employment. How long this search will last will depend on the prevailing economic situation in this country.

Causes Of Unemployment In Nigeria

The following are the causes of unemployment:

1. Absence of Industrialization 

West African countries do not have enough industries that can absorb the large number of school leavers every year.

2. Poor Agricultural System 

Many school leavers do not consider agricultural sector as one of the areas where they can get employement because it is still underdeveloped and unattractive.

3. Lack of Social Amenities in Rural Areas 

This constitutes push factor to rural-urban migration which makes the youths prefer settling in the urban areas even if they get employment in the rural areas.

ALSO READ:  Basic Concepts of Economics Explained

4. When Supply is Higher than Demand

This will affect many industries and cause retrenchment or layoff of workers.

5. Economic Recession 

Many industries were forced to fold up as a result of the world economic recession that hit the world at different times.

6. Faulty Educational System

The educational system Nigeria inherited from our former colonial rulers lays emphasis on writing, reading and arithmetic, which equips us to be job seekers rather than job creators.

7. High Cost of Education 

The exorbitant cost of higher education in West Africa prevents many school leavers from furthering their education and roam about the streets of our urban areas instead of being in institutions of higher learning.

8. Faulty Development plans 

Our leaders plan for the establishment of more schools and colleges without corresponding available places to absorb the upsurge of youths from these schools and colleges.

9. Overpopulation 

Our population increases without a proportional increase in the avenues of employment opportunities thereby leaving a large proportion of the population unemployed.

Solutions to Unemployment In Nigeria

The following are the solutions to unemployment:

1. Achieving Industrialization 

Establishing many industries will create more employment opportunities.

2. Making Agriculture More Attractive 

This can be done by developing agriculture and those in it should earn more salaries and wages so that it can attract youths to it.

3. Provision of Social Amenities to Rural Areas 

This will make many school leavers to work and reside in rural areas.

4. Good Development Plans 

Schools and colleges should be established based on the available places that will absorb the products of these institutions.

ALSO READ:  Full List of Income Exempted From Tax in Nigeria

5. Encouraging Geographical Mobility of Labour 

Unemployed people should move to areas other than theirs in order to secure gainful employment if vacancies exist there.

6. Restructuring Our Educational System 

Pre-vocational courses like mechanics, electronics, woodwork, metal work etc should be taught; these will make our educational products to be job creators instead of job seekers.

7. Population Control 

Optimum population will help solve our unemployment problems because it will bring our population to equilibrium point with our resources.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here