Youth unemployment in Nigeria

Youth Unemployment in Nigeria: Exploring Challenges and Solutions

by Temitope Victoria

Nigeria, often hailed as the “Giant of Africa,” has a large human capital and youth population. However, youth unemployment is a pressing issue, with its rate increasing annually.

A recent news article published by the National Bureau of Statistics in 2023 using a new method stated that Nigeria’s unemployment rate is currently at 4.1%. This points to the fact that many youths are unemployed in the country. 

There is a need to tackle the challenges of Youth unemployment in Nigeria and provide solutions. To do this, we need to understand youth unemployment’s problems, causes, and effects. 

This article delves into the problems of youth unemployment and how to provide solutions to solve the problems.

Causes of Youth Unemployment in Nigeria

The unemployment of youths in Nigeria is as a result of so many factors, which includes the following;

  1. Educational system

The educational system emphasises theory over practical skills. The system is not built or designed to train individuals who can take on jobs in practical ways. The frequent strikes by universities delay students in completing their education. When graduates finish school, they exceed the age range of entry-level roles. 

This poor educational system has forced many youths to study in foreign countries. These foreign countries teach practical skills that apply to jobs. These youths then increase the GDP of other countries while Nigeria’s GDP dwindles. 

  1. Skills mismatch

The job demand in the world is different from the skills some youths have. This is referred to as ‘skill mismatch’. The educational system also contributes to this. Industry-ready individuals must gain practical skills matching companies’ job roles and descriptions. 

Read also: Top 10 Budding Skills for Backend Developers in 2023. 

  1. Government policies

Policies implemented by government leaders have affected companies and industries. The rise in fuel prices and the exchange rate policies are part of these policies. Some international companies have moved out of Nigeria due to policies implemented that threatened their growth. These companies that left have resulted in job losses. 

Also, some other companies had to cut costs, letting some employees go. Job security requires implementing good government policies that support the growth of companies, industries, businesses, and individuals. 

  1. Large population

Nigeria has a rapid population growth with less concern for job creation. This implies that there are births every day, but there needs to be a structure to ensure jobs for the population. Nigeria’s population grows annually at 2.6% and based on this, many graduates enter the labour market with no jobs.

  1. Constraints on infrastructure 

Infrastructure development is overlooked in Nigeria. There needs to be more emphasis on developing structures such as electricity, housing, roads, water supply, health, oil and gas.

One major infrastructure issue that affects young people working is electricity. Lack of access to electricity inhibits many young people from getting jobs or even engaging in freelancing. There is a significant loophole in the health sector- many sick people travel out of the country to access treatment for severe illnesses.

  1. Preference for white-collar jobs

There seems to be a preference for white-collar jobs among many youths. This has increased competition and made jobs unavailable for youths. The traditional and hand-work jobs are abandoned. White-collar jobs are great, no doubt, but traditional jobs needed by the mass market are not paid attention to.

Read also: Types of Jobs in Nigeria: A Breakdown for Better Career Decisions. 

  1. Corruption

Corruption is a rotten egg that has eaten deep into the political system worldwide. Corruption is caused by selfishness by those in government. Corruption is a criminal act and a form of dishonesty. It has led to job losses, lack of job creation, theft of public funds, and a lack of growth in the country. 

Effects of Youth Unemployment in Nigeria

  1. Poverty

Youth unemployment causes poverty. Nigeria is one of the poorest nations in the world. Poverty has caused death, theft, and kidnapping among youths. Poverty is said to be one of the causes of insecurity in Nigeria. Increasing the rate of youth employment in Nigeria will reduce poverty. 

Read also: Can the Green Economy Alleviate Poverty in Nigeria?

  1. Death

A lack of jobs causes a lack of basic resources. Many youths cannot feed themselves or have shelter over their heads because of unemployment. This has caused hunger, living under bridges, in slums, and dangerous places. Youths have died due to starvation, lack of shelter, and poverty. 

  1. Depression and suicide

Many youths struggle to sponsor themselves to school for their education. It is disheartening that youths cannot get good jobs after school to care for their basic needs, grow, expand, and build their dreams. The popular saying an idle man is the devil’s workshop then comes into play. Graduates stay at home depressed and consider suicide.  

  1. Shortage of talented individuals 

The increase in youth unemployment has caused talented individuals in Nigeria to leave the country. This is popularly known as “Japa”. Youths from different industries, technology, healthcare, IT, and education, leave the country based on the lack of job security.

Many of these young people who go are skilled and talented but lack jobs and well-paying jobs to ensure they grow. Thus, they exit the country with no intention of returning or giving back to the country. This leaves the country with a shortage of talented individuals. 

Read also: Factors to Consider Before Travelling Out of Nigeria (Japa).

  1. Increase in drop-outs

The poor education system, strikes by the university body (ASUU), and poverty have led to students dropping out. Young people need more funds to complete their education, and the education system is getting expensive. 

  1. Political instability 

Another challenge of youth employment is political instability. Changes in government, both in the local and governorship sectors, affects the country’s growth. This challenge needs to be addressed while implementing youth employment solutions.

Solutions to Youth Employment in Nigeria

The challenges of youth unemployment in Nigeria can be solved in the following ways;

  1. Education reform

There is a need for education reform. Education reform will require prioritising education and ensuring the education sector prepares students for the labour market. The education sector needs attention and an end to all strikes that prolong the schooling system of students in Nigeria. 

The governing body, ASUU, has had a continuous indefinite strike for years. This strike disrupts many students’ education. A four-year course turns into six years. Infrastructural facilities need to be provided in secondary schools and universities. 

There is also a need for a shift in curriculum. Many of the topics and courses taught are outdated. The school curriculum needs to be updated with how the world is evolving.

Practical skills and knowledge need to be taught in secondary and tertiary institutions. Training youths to have practical skills from primary and secondary up to university or polytechnic level is essential. Training institutes will help to create Industry-ready youths.

Read also: Informal Education in Nigeria: An Overview. 

  1. Job Creation

Creating more jobs will greatly influence youth employment in Nigeria. Job creation will alleviate poverty, improve the economy, and enhance the country’s growth. Job creation is not solely the responsibility of the government. Creating jobs can also be done by the private sector; it is not limited to the public sector.

The public and private sectors should create jobs in every industry, including health, manufacturing, technology, commerce, etc. Creation of startups, entrepreneurship, infrastructure development, education, tourism, skills, and training will all contribute to the career growth of youths in Nigeria. 

  1. Good leadership

Seth Godin said, “Leadership is the art of giving people a platform for spreading ideas that work.” One significant youth employment solution is having excellent and efficient leaders. Good governance with critical thinking, problem-solving, and consideration for the masses will enhance the country’s economy. 

This will, in turn, boost the employment status of individuals. Good leaders in local councils, state houses, House of Assembly, House of Senate and governors who implement policies that positively influence the country will lead to growth.

The emphasis on electing good leaders should not only be on the president. It should also include leaders in the local councils. 

  1. Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship can boost youth employment by creating jobs, innovation, and alleviating poverty. Entrepreneurship is the process of creating a business to generate profit. People can be employed in the business with their job roles. As the business expands, the employment rate increases. These people will take on the jobs to face the company’s increasing demand.

Entrepreneurship applies to small businesses, startups, large-scale businesses, and social enterprises. In schools, entrepreneurship education can be taught. Entrepreneurship education will expand the mindset to create jobs in students’ minds. 

Entrepreneurship can be applied to diverse businesses and industries. It can apply to fashion designing, computer training, electrical work, agriculture, furniture making, etc. An essential aspect of entrepreneurship is building a business to solve the problems. 

Read also: Top 5 Books on Entrepreneurship You Need to Read. 

  1. Skills development 

Skills development plays a crucial role in solving youth employment. Developing skills usable in the labour market can boost economic growth and development. For example, in the IT sector, youths can learn data analysis. Data analysis is an IT skill that can be applied in any industry.

Business intelligence is required in any business. Building and construction are skills needed in the building sector. Youths taking up skills in the health care, manufacturing, construction, and information technology sectors will bridge the unemployment gap in Nigeria. 

Having and showcasing abilities on social media has earned many youths jobs and brand ambassador roles in companies in Nigeria and abroad. The importance of skill development must be addressed in youth employment. 

Would you love to develop and hone the skill of writing? If yes, join our WhatsApp community. 

  1. Infrastructure development 

The Infrastructure consists of roads, electricity, airports, water supply, telecommunications, oil and gas. Infrastructure development in these sectors is crucial to youth development. Developing infrastructures and increasing access to electricity and good roads will lead to job creation, tourism, and skills development.

Agriculture can boost economic growth by planting and exporting our local foods. Building and developing refineries for our natural crude oil will help us produce our oil, export, and get more value for our product. 

  1. Public and private partnerships 

Public and Private partnerships will enhance job opportunities, create entrepreneurship programs, and increase skill development. Public and private partnerships are the collaboration between government agencies and private companies. This collaboration will boost investments by local and foreign countries. 

Read also: Partnership in Business: What Every Nigerian Entrepreneur Should Know.

  1. Implementation of policies

Effective implementation of policies by political leaders will ensure the stability of youth employment in Nigeria. The government requires commitment and funding for these policies. 

  1. Innovation

Innovation will boost youth employment and the economy. One result of youth employment is that youths will become innovative and invest in the country. Innovation involves creating and developing new solutions to problems. It can be by creating new technologies or using skills to work more creatively.

  1. Sports

Gymnastics, football, tennis, basketball, sprint, and boxing are popular sports that have employed youths. The amount of money sports celebrities earn is very high. They can travel out of the country and compete with foreigners. These competitions earn them labels and contracts with clubs and countries. 

Nigerian footballers like Victor Osimhen, Ighalo, and Alex Iwobi made football a career and have become successful. Nigeria’s boxing star, Anthony Joshua, has made boxing a career and profession.

Youths should be encouraged to go into sports of their choice. Good infrastructure and systems made by private and public clubs for sports will contribute immensely to sports development. 

Other solutions to unemployment are encouraging foreign investors, controlling the population, providing affordable housing, access to healthcare and job training. 

Vocational skills that are highly sought after, like plumbing, carpentry, hairdressing, fashion designing, computer literacy and programming, are valuable in the labour market. Internship and apprenticeship opportunities will also increase youth employment in Nigeria.


Tackling youth unemployment in Nigeria requires a combined effort from the masses and the government. Nigerian youth can fight unemployment by implementing skills development, innovation, entrepreneurship, education reform, and job creation.

The collaborative effort between the government and its people will enhance employment. Despite the challenges, Nigerian youths can have a bright future and achieve their dreams and goals. 

Oluwanifemi Akintomide edited this article.

Subscribe to our newsletter for more insightful posts like this.

About Author

Avatar of Temitope Victoria
Temitope Victoria
Hi. I'm Temitope Victoria, a technical writer with a strong foundation in computer science.

I'm passionate about writing engaging articles that enlightens readers on latest technologies.

My interests span across women, technology and lifestyle and entrepreneurship.

Related Posts

Leave a Comment

× Say hi
Update Required Flash plugin