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Employment: Understanding the Basics

Employment: Understanding the Basics

Understanding Employment: Opportunities, Challenges and Perspectives


Students graduating from universities and colleges have a lot to offer in the job market. However, the reality is that not everyone can find a job immediately. Unemployment can be a huge blow to one’s dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It can drain one’s self-esteem and confidence in life. But the good news is that there are various employment opportunities available to graduates today. This article aims to provide insight into the challenges, opportunities, and perspectives that accompany employment.

The State of Employment

In recent years, the job market has seen a lot of changes. Many sectors that were previously thought to be stable have been disrupted by technology and globalization. The demand for certain types of jobs has increased, while others have decreased. The Covid-19 pandemic has further fueled unemployment rates in some sectors, while it stimulated growth in others.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics, Nigeria’s unemployment rate as of the fourth quarter of 2020 was 33.3%, which is the highest rate the country has recorded in over a decade. Young people between the ages of 18-35 years, who are graduates predominantly, have the highest rate of unemployment. The current situation necessitates a careful reflection on the state of employment in Nigeria as a whole.

Employment Opportunities

The Nigerian Federal and State governments, Private Institutions, Non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and other stakeholders have established varied schemes to tackle Nigeria’s massive unemployment problem. Also, many incentives are directed at encouraging private-sector investment in creating job opportunities. However, for us to understand employment truly, we need to have an accurate representation of job opportunities in Nigeria.

Agriculture Jobs

This sector is one of the most critical employers in Nigeria, with the potential to absorb millions of Nigerians into well-paying jobs. The Agriculture sector has vast opportunities for investment and can provide many types of jobs like farm managers, farm supervisors, irrigation specialists, agricultural consultants, agricultural technicians, farm workers, and even entrepreneurs who can invest in the sector.


Entrepreneurship is regarded as one of the most significant drivers for economic growth, and the government of Nigeria has significantly advocated for entrepreneurship in recent times. The country is rich in natural resources that can serve as a basis for entrepreneurship, and numerous businesses can thrive in different sectors. Government-led initiatives like the Central Bank of Nigeria Entrepreneurship Development Scheme (CBN-EDS) and the Bank of Industry (BOI) are worth exploring. Also worthy of mention is Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Program, which has been providing entrepreneurship training and support for eligible Nigerians since 2015.

Technology Jobs

The technological sector in Nigeria has grown in recent years, creating new opportunities for employment. With the ever-increasing demand for digital services and financial technology in Nigeria’s growing middle class, the sector is expected to continue experiencing rapid growth. Digital jobs like data analysts, software developers, cybersecurity professionals, digital marketing, and emerging technologies can provide employment opportunities for graduates looking to go into the tech ecosystem.

Manufacturing Jobs

The manufacturing industry is also a significant employer of labor in Nigeria. The country has a significant potential to benefit from the sector, but it requires massive investment. Nigeria’s large population and vast natural resources are significant advantages that offer ample support for the manufacturing industry, forming a basis for job opportunities, including product managers, production line supervisors, quality control officers, supply chain managers, and other roles in the industry.

Challenges with Employment

The biggest challenge of employment in Nigeria, particularly graduate employment, is a lack of jobs. Despite the government’s best efforts, there still aren’t enough salaried jobs for graduates. Another challenge is the numerous reports of deception, extortion, fraud, or physical abuse of job seekers. The high rate of unemployment has made young graduates vulnerable to all sorts of exploitation by con artists posing as job agents. Thirdly, a mismatch in skills required for existing jobs and skills that some graduates have acquired is also a significant challenge and a major issue for graduate employment in Nigeria.

Solutions to Employment Challenges

The only ultimate solution to the high rate of graduate unemployment is the development of infrastructure and the creation of a conducive environment for businesses to thrive, which will also generate job opportunities. The following steps could help in reducing the high unemployment rate in the country.

Investing in Agriculture

The government can fund the Agricultural sector adequately to initiate meaningful policies that aim to create jobs, such as mechanizing agriculture and encouraging youth participation in agriculture. Also, the Agricultural sector holds the most significant potential for job creation if taken seriously. Such initiatives can be supported by Private Sector investment.

Revitalizing Infrastructural facilities

Investing in our infrastructural facilities is essential. There are inadequate infrastructural facilities required to make it easier for Nigerians to do business in the country. Hence, the government needs to invest massively and efficiently in infrastructural facilities to ensure that businesses and individuals can operate in a conducive environment.

Promoting Local Industry

The Nigerian government can protect and promote local industry to revive production activities within the country. This promotion can be through policies that such industries may benefit from favorable tax regulations, protection from cheap overseas products that flood the Nigerian market by tariffs, and protective duties in the importation of goods. Policies could also include the promotion of local production by enforcing compliance with safety and environmental standards.

Encouraging Entrepreneurship

The government should create policies and structures that will foster an environment that supports entrepreneurial activities, such as tax holidays and concessionary loans. Providing access to finance for young entrepreneurs could be an advantage in encouraging entrepreneurship, as it gives many young Nigerians the support they need to start their businesses and, in turn, provide jobs for others.


Employment opportunities in Nigeria are less than the demand for jobs. It is commendable that the government, Non-Governmental Organizations, and private entities are promoting entrepreneurship and implementing policies to create job opportunities. However, it is high time policymakers look into strategies that will lead to infrastructural development, promote local industries, and encourage youth participation in agriculture. Adequate implementation of policies would not only reduce graduate unemployment, but it would also contribute significantly to economic growth and rapid development of the nation.

The term “employment” refers to a legally-binding contract between two parties—the employer and the employee. An employee is defined as an individual in the service of another (individual or entity) under a contract of hire under which the employer has the ability to direct the employee regarding material details concerning how work should be performed.

As a simplified take on the term, employment refers to the act of securing work. An employed individual is occupied in a certain industry, where he or she will provide a certain skill or service in exchange for pay.

The employee/employer relationship—including expected work, regulations in the workplace and pay–is affirmed in the employment contract. If the employer or employee does not uphold the stipulations present in the employment contract, the employment may be terminated or the employee may seek just compensation for the employer’s breach.

The Employee:

As stated above, employment constitutes a relationship between an employer and an employee. The employee is responsible for contributing labor and expertise to a specific endeavor as defined by the employer. The employee is typically hired to perform a specific duty which is packaged into a job. In a developed economy, employment signifies an absolute relationship between an individual and his or her hiring corporation—this relationship is held separate from those of clients and consumers.

The employer’s level of authority over the employee is dependent on a number of factors, the most powerful being the nature of the prescribed relationship between the two parties. This relationship is affected by the motivation, interests and control of the parties. In most employment relationships, it is the employer’s responsibility to balance and manage these factors to properly establish a productive working environment.

Finding Employment:

The primary means for an employer to secure a workforce is undertaken through recruiting, job listings (published online and in newspapers) or internally, through promotions. An employer will also hire professional recruitment consultants or agencies, which receive commissions from employers to find job seekers for particular openings. These recruitment firms will find, screen and subsequently select qualified candidates to apply/interview for particular job openings.

Employment in the United States:

Employment in the United States is considered to be an at-will relationship, concerning the employer and employee. This relationship denotes the employee and the employer are both free to terminate the employment for any cause and at any time. However, if the termination of employment is deemed unjust by the employee, the fired worker can seek legal recourse to challenge the termination.

Unjust termination in the United States may include a firing based on discrimination; an employer may not terminate an employment contract based on the employee’s race, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, physical or mental disability, religion, pregnancy, ancestry or military status.

Furthermore, despite the agreements latent in the employment contract, an employer is required to pay an employee at least the minimum wages established by the federal government or those set by the state in which the work is undertaken. Individual states may establish their own minimum wage if it is higher than the federal government’s to ensure a higher living wage or standard of living for their residents. Employers are required to establish salaries based on merit and job function and not on sexual orientation, gender, race or ethnicity.