Unemployability in Nigeria: Causes and Prospects for Nigerian Employers and Labour Force


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In making more informed decisions in staff recruitment, retention, and management in my organisation – D Dot Resources and Allied Limited, Nigeria. Consequently, increasing my organisation’s overall ability to achieve its core business objectives, by means of offering better positive Psychological Capital needed to motivate my subordinates at work; as illustrated in the study of Storey et al.

Additionally, being the Management Consultant of D Dot Resources and Allied Limited Nigeria, the requisite knowledge and skills I acquire would contribute to proffering tangible Human Resources solutions for client organisations. As I would have developed enhanced capacity as a human resource practitioner in the area of staff employment and engagement; so as to offer knowledgeable solutions to problems of skills’ shortage that organisations in Nigeria are grappling with (Eneh, 2009).

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Furthermore, studying a DBA, will not only be expedient for my career advancement, but the expertise I crave, can help to offer constructive contributions needed to resolve the menace of increased crime rates and youth restiveness presently witnessed in Nigeria (Namadi, 2016); which have been acknowledged as correlated to unemployment of Nigerian graduates, resulting from deficiency in employable skills (Aiyedogbon and Ohwofasa, 2012).

I am presently the Managing Consultant, and Executive Director of D Dot Resources and Allied Limited, a Human Resources/Education Management consulting firm in Nigeria; which represents a host of Institutions of Higher Education in UK, USA, Canada, and Australia, for student recruitment. This role entails working on a variety of projects, challenges and opportunities for my company’s development.

Career talks with fresh graduates during educational fairs organised by the company for referral of Nigerian students for studies abroad at Universities, and colleges in the aforementioned Countries. This experience has exposed me to the issue of unemployability facing fresh graduates in Nigeria. Therefore, sparking my interest in investigating the causes, and possibly proffering solutions to this problem.

Working with Client organisations to grow their businesses, through fashioning out innovative strategies, structures, management and operations styles needed to achieve their central business objectives.

Solving client organisations’ problems, by recommending improved Human Resources Management techniques that can enrich their services and, where necessary, reduce costs and make savings.

Carrying out Training Needs Assessment for client organisations in the private and public sector of Nigeria, to develop bespoke training workshops that will engender overall improved employees’ performance.

Furthermore, I hold a Masters degree in International Human Resources Management from Birmingham City University, coupled with an associate membership of a Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development; among other educational and professional qualifications.

These aforementioned qualifications and work offers me the requisite skills and experience to embark on this research. Besides, the unique advantage of being a Human Resource practitioner will be brought to bear in carrying out a convincing investigatory study of the issue of umemployability in Nigeria, while ensuring the findings, as well as the recommendations of this research focuses on aligning organisations’ employee engagement and retention strategies with their corporate objectives.

This study will be embarked on beside the backdrop of the uniqueness of the socioeconomic and political environment that Nigerian employers operate in (Adegbite, 2015; Eneh, 2009); while being cognisant of the pressure this unique business environment puts on employers to engage the services of fresh graduates who upon commencement of work can immediately start contributing tangibly to organisations’ objectives (Limbs and Fort, 2000).


For this research I intend to adopt primarily a combination of various qualitative data gathering techniques such as interviews, questionnaires, and case studies with the aim of boosting ‘the detail and depth of observation’( Bryman 2006,p.99). Besides, qualitative data-gathering techniques is generally favoured for human resources research studies such as this (Anderson 2009, p.204; Flick 2014, p.142).

Additionally, my preference for the qualitative data gathering approach for this study stems from its acclaimed efficacy in understanding multiple perspectives, which presumably this research will entail a lot of; as well as the evaluation of infinite data such as opinions, values, and judgments; for proper understanding of the subject matter (Saunders et al 2007, p.315).

Notwithstanding the preference for qualitative data gathering techniques, this research is nonetheless open to the use of a mix of quantitative and qualitative approach to enrich data where deemed necessary to evaluate numerical data. The inclusion of quantitative method is expected to be useful in clarifying dependent and independent variables under investigation, as well as enriching data gathered (Anderson 2009,p.204; Creswell & Plano, 2011). Moreover, the use of both qualitative and quantitative methods for data gathering should promote a more objective assessment, as well as provide better validity and reliability of data to answer the research question/s (Bryman 2006, p 105-106).

Additionally, one-on-one interviews will be conducted for Managers in the Human Resources Department of the case study organisations. The interviewees will be selected after an assessment of their eligibility to comment on the subject matter; so as to get insightful responses on how fresh graduates’ unemployability is perceived by different functional managers in these organisations.

Although this research envisages concerns of power play and confidentiality interfering with interviewees’ reactions, thus generating biased responses, as identified by Mitchell and Irvine (2008) cited in Rubin and Rubin (2012,p.88.); since the interviews will be conducted in their offices and the subject matter could involve divulging sensitive information about their organisation. Despite this awareness, the interviews will still be conducted in the selected managers’ offices, since it is likely the most convenient environment for these interviews.

However, to mitigate against the issue of interviewees’ subjective responses, the interview questions will be semi-structured and open ended. By so doing, it is expected that the prospective interviewees can be eased into the discussion. Thereby allowing for follow-up probing questions based on the interviewee’s responses; aimed at appropriately capturing opinions, as advised by Saunders et al (2007, p.312); Rubin and Rubin (2012, p.92).

Although unlike structured interviews, open ended questioning approach, predisposes the interviewees to belabouring points, and digressing from the matter of discussion to irrelevant issues. However, should such situations present itself, the plan is to subtly redirect the conversation back to the topic of discussion as opined by Morgan (1997, p.11). Furthermore, to keep abreast of the interviewees’ responses, as well as have access to re-examine comments made for transcribes, the interview sessions will be tape-recorded. Although the information to be obtained, and how interview sessions will be set-up, would be clarified with the various interviewees before the interview commences; so as to circumvent unsettling the interviewees (Anderson, 2009, p.204).

In order to accurately gather data needed to enhance the quality of this research work, qualitative questionnaires will also be administered randomly to unemployed graduates in Nigerian, so as to also gather their opinions about the issue unemployment. Since it is practically impossible to interview all of the unemployed graduates in Nigeria, the sample size of respondents for questionnaires administration will be selected bearing in mind the 1-10% ‘magic sampling fraction’ according to Dornyei, (2003).

Understandably, the use of questionnaires present the risk of being incorrectly completed, or unreturned; as prospective respondents have no obligation to this study (Baruch & Holtom, 2008, p.1142). To forestall this risks, the questionnaires will be administered during educational/career fairs organised by D Dot Resources and Allied Limited, Nigeria. These events will serve as avenues to strategically target respondents who will be encouraged to complete the questionnaires anonymously in order to stimulate more objective responses that can aid the validity of data.

Furthermore, relevant literatures of previous research on the topic of study will also be reviewed. This will help to guide this research work, as well as expose the areas of divergence and convergence with past findings Saunders et al. (2009).

Data Analysis

To thoroughly evaluate data that will be obtained through the various proposed means mentioned, recorded interviews will examined and carefully transcribed (Miles 2014). The data obtained will then be analysed using Constant Comparison/Grounded Theory to seek out indicators of categories in events and behaviour; subsequently they will be named and coded on a document (Anderson 2009).

Likewise, data from administered questionnaires will be assessed using the approach of content and interpretive phenomenological analysis (Smith and Osborn 2003, p.52). It is expected that adopting these methods for analysing the questionnaires would support this study to explore in detail how respondents make sense of their personal, as well as social world in respect to unemployment.

Numerical data that emanate from the findings of this research as well as literatures reviewed will be analysed statistically using Microsoft excel, as prescribed by (Hahn, 2008; Meyer & Avery, 2009).

Once the data has been analysed, this research intends to employ the use of matrix and network displays for the observation of a full data set in the same location, and for ensuring that data are arranged systematically to answer the research question/s (Miles 2014, p.108).

Accessing Organisations and Respondents Necessary for This Research

Gaining access to organisations’ employees who can contribute substantively to this research work should not be much of a challenge. As the managing consultant of D Dot Resources and Allied Limited, Nigeria which is a Human Resource/ Educational consulting firm to public and private sector organisations in Nigeria, I already have access to, and work with organisations’ and tertiary institutions’ senior staff such as the heads of Admin/HR departments, and Deans of Student Affairs respectively. Therefore, calling up such functional managers to make contributions to this research, through interviews should not be a major concern.

Similarly, contacting sample groups of unemployed graduates whose contributions to this research work is central; as their inputs will help to make this study more insightful; is also not an issue of great concern, being that my firm organises Career and Education fairs from time to time, these events offer me the unique advantage of accessing a cluster of potential respondents to the questionnaires for this study. The recruitment consultancy service my firm offers is also an additional means of reaching appropriate respondents.

The Findings of This Research Could Assist

Human Resource practitioners in Nigeria to identify areas in their employment practices where improvements can be made to create pathways for under skilled graduates to be brought into employment.

Employers in Nigeria to appreciate how imbibing employment strategies that can ultimately transform graduates into competent individuals, who can make tangible contributions to organisations; serve their business interests in the long-run.

Education providers to ascertain the gaps between formal education and workplace realities, with the prospect of engendering synergies between institutions of higher education and industries in Nigeria; so as to facilitate improved students’ preparation with requisite employable skills to fit into employment upon graduation.

Institutions of higher education to see the need for revamping their course curriculum in order to include programmes which can equip students with skills needed by potential employers.

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