It is no news or surprise, the level at which the canker-worm known as ‘unemployment’, has eaten deep into our economic sector, society and country at large. In Nigeria, as a case study, the growing population of unemployed youths is breath-taking. This situation keeps us pondering, what to do to alleviate unemployment and the risk it poses to our youths who are eager and in search of gainful employment (jobs), likewise the employers who seek ‘workable hands and brains’.
What is unemployment?
In Wikipedia, unemployment, as defined by the International Labour Organization, occurs when people are without jobs and they have actively looked for work within the past four weeks. The lack of available and worthy jobs is a measure of the prevalence of unemployment and it is calculated as a percentage by dividing the number of unemployed individuals by all individuals currently in the labour force. In my opinion, there are two types of unemployment:
- Involuntary unemployment due to job cuts.
- Voluntary unemployment due to laziness and reluctance to lose out on government aid.
It is a universal problem that affects all the countries in the world and was recently a very serious issue in Germany and France (to the extent that it even threatened the very continuity of the government in those countries.)
Risk of unemployment
The causes and consequences of youth unemployment in Nigeria have been of particular concern within both government and private sectors for many years. Statistics show that with every passing out year from the Nigerian Youth Service Corps (NYSC), the population of the unemployed tops. This evidence gives cause to the growing concern surrounding the increase in youth unemployment. For size-able numbers of youth, its not going to get any easier to find work as they move into their twenties or complete education. There are two major repercussions or risk that goes with unemployment, especially with the youth. They are:
- An increase in the rate of crime. It is no wonder why juvenile crime is directly connected to the high rates of youth unemployment in Nigeria.
- The deterioration in the physical and mental health of those that are affected by unemployment.
According to Walter Fritz, in his article- ‘Unemployment causes and solution’, he stated “Unemployment is an unbalance between the supply and the demand of working hours”. The historical trend has been to use less and less working hours per week. If we do not continue this trend, the supply of working hours is greater than the demand. An oversupply of working hours means they are worth less, wages and salaries get reduced. Also many persons are out of work; their working hours are no longer needed. Those that are out of work have no income and therefore the demand for goods goes down. With fewer sales, less gets produced, more persons are laid off. This is a vicious circle that accelerates unemployment and produces crime; because some will turn to crime to obtain income.
The way to stop this and have everybody working is to continue the historical trend; which is to distribute the available work between all persons that want to work. This we can do if each person works fewer hours per week. The Government could level a tax on overtime, be it paid or voluntary, and on hours worked above a certain level per week. If there is, say, 9% unemployment, this level should be 9% less hours per week, than what is worked at present.
The role of youths
In the presenting situation of unemployment, there is a role to be played by the youths. To not be gainfully employed is not a ticket to sitting around and feeling sorry for you, but should be a challenge towards making necessary steps to harness talents rather than resorting to crime. Developing systems from the ground up can put other youths into employment.
Also, they can relocate to where there be plenty jobs or where they are hiring in their field of expertise, to avert the cases whereby we find a biochemist working in the banking sector where an accountant or other bank related course graduates should be.
They can go back to school, make themselves more valuable, attractive, and marketable to employers. By branching out into other field, such as, the biotech industry, and blue collar work can increase stability in our economy.
The role of teachers and institutions
According to http://www.truth-out.org, a 10th way to solve the job problem is in education. Institutions and teachers should start teaching a new way. It is stated, “More education, less advertising. Let us face it. Advertising is about making us feel inadequate for something we don’t yet have. What if we stopped subsidizing advertising with tax breaks and focused on educating people to lead satisfying lives?”. Better still educating the masses on how to make best use of core areas of interest and turning it into a mega company which will eventually create jobs is also way forward.
In conclusion, to prevent the backdrop of the high unemployment rate in our nation Nigeria, and to curb or reduce effectively the risk youth employability continues to pose to the youth and employers alike. The government, youths, teachers and academic institutions all have roles to play in resolving these issues and we all must channel our strength to see it through to fruition.