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The issue of graduate unemployment in Nigeria has become a matter of urgent attention, as unemployed graduates tend to be more anxious, depressed and unhappy with their attendant sleeplessness than those with jobs. This situation has not only posed a great challenge to Nigeria’s economy but also retarded the economic growth and development of the country. It is against this background that this study examined graduate unemployment and Nigeria’s economic development. Through a survey method, the study discovered that unemployment in Nigeria is attributable to the fact that employees’ education and skills acquired are inadequate to meet the demands of modem day jobs. This issue has become a phenomenal topic of discourse across professional gatherings in media and commentary reviews, employer surveys, national economic debates, social networks and employee forums. This study, however, recommended among other things that the Government should make provision  for bail-out funds for both private and public companies and industries that their collapse  or closure  have rendered  their workforce jobless. The environment should be made conducive to make them function effectively. Government as a matter of urgency needs to address all the operational challenges and threats confronting the manufacturing sectors and other investors in the country.



1.1     Background to the Study

It is an indisputable fact that one of the topical issues confronting Nigeria is the problem of graduate unemployment irrespective of the fact that there is over two hundred (200) Universities in Nigeria ranging from Federal to private universities as well as polytechnics, and colleges of education (Ajaegbu, (2012). This assertion is premised on the fact that graduate unemployment in Nigeria has affected youths from a broad spectrum of socioeconomic groups, both the well and less well educated. As a result, it has particularly stricken a substantial fraction of youths from low income backgrounds and limited education.

From the foregoing, it is obvious that graduate unemployment impedes Nigeria’s progress in many ways. Apart from economic waste, it also constitutes danger for political stability (Anyanwu and Iloye 1998). It is disturbing to note that Nigeria’s graduates have limited chances of becoming gainfully employed. It is even more disheartening that the country’s economic condition is such that, it is hardly able to absorb an optimal proportion of the production of its own educational system. Gone were the days when employers go about looking for employees.

It is now the turn of graduate after spending many years in intuitions of higher learning to move from one office to the other seeking non-existent jobs. These days thousands of graduates are found waiting to be interviewed for just one, two or few vacant positions in some organizations or groups. Most people who cannot earn their living are prone to social vices. They look at themselves as second-class citizens for being unable to contribute to the society. The state of unemployment can even lead to depression, low self-esteem, frustration and a number of other negative consequences (Anyanwu and Iloye 1998).

Graduate employment is a crucial issue in Nigeria because the graduate youths constitute a major part of the labour force and they have innovative ideas, which among other factors are important in the development process of the country. A large proportion of the youths however are unemployed. The negative consequences include psychological problems of frustration, depression, hostility and gradual drift of some visible unemployed youths in to all manner of criminal behaviour.

Simply put, unemployment descries the condition of people who are without jobs. The International Labor Organization (ILO) defines the unemployed as numbers of the economically active population who are without work but available for and seeking work, including people who have lost their jobs and those who have voluntarily left work (World bank, 1998).

The menace of unemployment has increasingly been recognized as one of the socio-economic  problems   currently   facing   many   developing   countries   likeNigeria and Africa as a whole. Graduate Unemployment in Nigeria is indeed a pathetic situation that calls for urgent attention, to address these socio-economic effects accompanied by it. It is against this background that this study set out to examine the effects of graduate unemployment on Nigeria’s economic development from 1999-2014.

1.2     Statement of the Problem

Unemployment in Nigeria, especially graduate unemployment has been blamed on so many factors such as erratic power supply, corruption, and other factors. For instance, erratic and inadequate power supply has been the major reason cited by many of the multinationals such as Michelin, Dunlop plc, Volkswagen Plc, PZ, Unilever that are closed their operations in Nigeria which further worsened the level of unemployment. For instance, the exit of Michelin from Nigeria costs the economy 1,300 direct jobs (Oke 2011). Also, on its own part, corruption is not a strange word to youth unemployment in Nigeria. Simply put, corruption is a dishonest or illegal behaviour, especially of people in authority. It is an abuse of public office for private gain which usually involves embezzlement of public funds, nepotism and falsification of facts and figures, etc.

More so, Industrialization in Nigeria has been pursued haphazardly with little or no attention paid to manpower development implications of the adopted strategies. For instance, after independence, a battery of incentives was offered to industrialists to lure foreign investment into Nigeria. But, the industrialists that came were capital intensive in their operation and could not absolve proportional size of the growing labour force in gainful employment (Yesufu, 1981).

The consequences of graduate unemployment in Nigeria are very severe and threatening to the citizenry and the economy as a whole. Graduate unemployment episode has continued to pose so many challenges to youths who are the future leaders thereby affecting the stability and survival of the Nigerian nation. Graduate Unemployment has contributes to crime and violence in Nigeria. With growing level of graduate unemployment, the divide between the rich and the poor grows, resulting in social tensions which could affect the entire fabric of a community, state and the entire country. For instance, the Niger Delta restiveness and the current Boko Haram insurgence have been blamed on youth unemployment. Also, it has led to drugs abuse by youths. Due to frustration as a result of not gainfully employed, most people turn to drugs. It is equally easy to visualize that lack of steady income could, apart from the above ills, also lead to inadequate nutrition and adversely affect health of the youth and their families.

1.3      Aim and Objectives of the Study

The aim of this study is appraise the effects of graduate unemployment on Nigeria’s economic development. The specific objectives of the study are to:

i.                    Interrogate the relationship between graduate unemployment and Nigeria’s economic development.

ii.                 Evaluate that causes of graduate unemployment in Nigeria

iii.               Suggest ways through which graduate unemployment can be reduced if not eradicated totally in Nigeria.

1.4     Research Questions

The following research questions are developed to guide this study;

i.                    What is the relationship  between  graduate  unemployment  and Nigeria’s economic development?

ii.                 What are the causes of graduate unemployment in Nigeria?

iii.               What are the ways through which graduate unemployment can be reduced if not eradicated totally in Nigeria?

1.5     Research Hypotheses

This study is built on the following hypothetical assumptions:

Hypothesis 1

Hi: There is a relationship between graduate unemployment and Nigeria’s economic development.

Ho: There is no relationship between graduate unemployment and Nigeria’s economic development.

Hypothesis II

Hi:   There is a relationship between corruption and graduate unemployment in Nigeria

Ho:  There is a relationship between corruption and graduate unemployment in Nigeria.

Hypothesis 111

Hi:  There is a relationship between erratic power supply and graduate unemployment in Nigeria

Ho: There is no relationship between erratic power supply and graduate unemployment in Nigeria.

1.6     Significance of the Study

There are too many benefits that will be accruable from this study when completed. Firstly, it will provide an in-depth understanding on the causes of unemployment in Nigeria as well as its consequences on the youths. This will go a long way in ensuring that efforts will be made by both government and private organizations to work against any policy that will lead to unemployment. Above all, the study will add more too existing body of knowledge and serve as a reference point for further research in the field of Economics, Political Science, Development Studies, Sociology, etc.

1.7     Scope and Limitations of the study

This study is designed to evaluate the effects of graduate unemployment onNigeria’s economic development from 1999-2014. The quality of this research tends to be limited by so many factors such as, the inability of respondents to open up and respond objectively to the research questions, as well as time and financial constraints. In order to ensure that these factors do not affect the quality of this research, a structure questionnaire containing open ended question will be designed to guide respondents in their response. Also, finance will be source to meet with the financial obligations of the study.

1.8     Research Methodology

Methodology involves data gathering and data analysis. Therefore data for this study will be sourced through the use of primary and secondary sources. However, the primary data, the questionnaire will be used to solicit responses and information from respondents. This will be structured objectively, considering the time lag and its relative advantage to minimize cost. The questionnaire will be divided into two main parts, part 1 and part 11. The former is the demographic data of respondents i.e. their socio economic background, while part 11 is the research questions. The secondary data for the study will be sourced from published materials and literatures such as textbooks, periodicals, publications and newspapers.

1.9     Outline of Chapters

This   study   is   designed   to   span   over   five   chapters.   Chapter   one   is   the introduction which will comprise background to the study, statement of the problem, aim and objective of the study, research questions, research hypothesis, significance of the study, scope and delimitations of the study, etc. Chapter two is the literature review and theoretical framework. Chapter three deals with the effects of unemployment on Nigeria’s economic development.

Chapter four is data analysis and presentation. Chapter five is the summary recommendations and conclusion.

1.10 Operational Definition of Terms

Economic Development: This refers to social and technological progress not merely an increase in production but the way and manner goods and services are produced and which consequently leads to increase or improvement in the standard of living of a nation or society in question.

Graduates: This refers to people who have university degrees or its equivalent to be employed in an organization.

Unemployment: A situation in which there is number of the economically active population who are without work but available for and seeking work, including people who have lost their jobs and those who have voluntarily left work

Youth: This refers to young male and female between ages 15 and 30 years


Adebayo, A. (1999). “Youth Unemployment and the National Directorate of Employment, Self-employment Programmes”, the Nigerian Journal of Economics and Social Studies, 41(1).

Ajaegbu,   O.O   (2012).   Rising Youth Unemployment and Violent Crime   in Nigeria, American Journal of Social Issues & Humanities: Vol.2(5) pp. 315-321 Sept.

Anyanwu G.A. and Iloye I.C. (1998). “Graduate Employment Survey”, In Tracer Study of the Graduates of the Faculties of Arts, Agriculture and Education of the University of Nigeria, Nsuka,

Fajana, S (2000). Functioning Of the “Nigerian Labour Market, Lagos: Labofin and Company

Falae, S.O ( 1971). Unemployment in Nigeria’ Nigerian journal of economic and Social studies, vol.13, nol, march

Oke .B. (2011). TUC Rejects Increase in Electricity Tariff, The Punch, February22,

Yusuf ,C. (1981) “International Unemployment Rates: How Comparable are They?”, Monthly Labour Review, November


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