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Victor Ejechi: Nigeria added 7,999 PhD holders to the unemployment market in 21 months

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The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) just released the Unemployment and Underemployment Report for Q2-2020, and once again the data showed alarming figures for the unemployment rate in Nigeria, reporting a national unemployment rate of 27% and Underemployment Rate of 28.6%. That’s enough to cause stomach upset, but that’s not the “KOKO” of this article. The report contained some stat that caught my attention. 

Let’s start with the large population of Nigerians with PhD. In the last quarter of 2017, NBS reported that there were 70,739 PhD holders and 72,146 in the third quarter of 2018. In the most recent data for the second quarter of 2020, the number of PhD holders has increased to 76,526. 

Also disturbing is the high number of unemployed PhD holders. According to StatiSense, the NBS report shows that in 2018, there were 9,832 unemployed PhD holders in the third quarter of 2018, a figure that increased from 7,817 reported for the last quarter of 2017. And in the second quarter of 2020, it has increased to 17,831. This clearly means that 7,999 PhD holders have been added to the unemployment market in 21 months – 381 PhD holder per month.

Apart from those with PhDs, the report also reviewed that 119,513 Nigerians with Master’s Degree are unemployed and 2,844,811 with Bachelor’s Degree are also unemployed. It went further to show that, those with Diploma, O-Level, Vocational certification, and Junior Secondary school certificate has unemployment number of 2,009,014, 8,135,050, 50,367 and 1,344,603 respectively. 

When you consider that the national unemployment rate is at 27% and the increasing number of those with qualification and still unemployed,  you realize that an educated Nigerian is more likely to be unemployed than the average Nigerian. What I see in the state is that, the likelihood that you will have a job is lower if you have gone to university. 

Since the report was released, they have been question as to the importance the government is giving to education in Nigeria as regards to the ever increasing unemployment in the country. I am of the opinion that, the government should make efforts to come up with population policies that will check the growth rate of the population. 

Also, the expansion of the university system and enrolment should equally be checked. This will reduce the number of graduates that are turned out annually. When this is done, the gap between the number of graduates and employment opportunities will be bridged. 

Victor Ejechi is the Media and Communications Lead at StatiSense Consult


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