Many Nigerians are Underemployed, and it is Getting Worse


For many people, being underemployed is a bogus word. But if there is anything more frustrating for any human being, it is ambition to work and not being able to get right kind of work you want.

That is underemployment. You are engaged in some kind of productive activity that is under-utilising your potentials, skills and qualification.

In the words of the National Bureau of Statistics, it is a situation when “Underemployment however occurs if you work less than full time hours, which is 40 hours, but work at least 20 hours on average a week and or if you work full time but are engaged in an activity that underutilizes your skills, time and educational qualifications”.

Data from the Bureau show that Nigeria’s labour force increased from 106.69 million in Q2 2016 to 108.03 million, this represents a 1.26% increase over the previous quarter and a 3.57% increase when compared to Q3 2015. The data gets more disheartening when you get to know that 19.7% which is 15.9 million of the total labour force are underemployed. With a total unemployment population(underemployed and unemployed) of 27.1 million in Q3 2016, it therefore means that underemployment is becoming the biggest issue.

It is more grim when you discover that underemployment is common among fresh graduates and young people between the age of 15-24 years of age. In the third quarter of the year, 34.9% of the total young people in the  labour force are underemployed compared  to 25% of them who are unemployed. This is cumulative of 60% of the total young population who are not really adding anything significant to the economy.

For many years, we are fixated on unemployment, however, many people who end up getting something to do a majorly not doing what they are happy doing or what fit their skills.

This is a major problem for Nigeria going forward. The adverse effect of the current economic recession has also thrown many people back into the labour market. The research shows that many people who might have lost their jobs in the past 12 months are nor taking on menial and unfit jobs just to make a living.

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