Over the last couple of months, I’ve had the opportunity to speak with executives in Nigeria by way of casual lunches, after work chats, etc. One issue that resonates consistently is the lack of talent in the job force. Many executives blame Nigerian education system for not preparing students to be employable.
While I agree, the education system in Nigeria has a long way to go, it is unlike the private sector to sit on their hands in this situation. Complaining about an unemployable job force seems to be the easy way out. I believe employ-ability is a symptom of a larger issue in Nigeria; the employee/ employer relationship.
There are examples of employees that are treated like cogs on a wheel. You find someone that can do x and you just make sure they do x until you don’t need it anymore. Employees are interchangeable and that’s how companies hire. Unfortunately, this is the value of the employee in many Nigerian companies.
If Nigerian companies want to compete in the global economy, they are going to have to solve how they will take their human capital to the next level. In order to do that, companies need to rethink their relationship with their employees. Instead of looking at people as disposable, companies should work to grow and groom their employees. There are many Kenyan companies, for example, that have internal learning plans so employees are constantly improving themselves. Which brings me full circle. Nigerian students need to improve their employ-ability. However, private sector companies should look at bringing employees on and figuring out ways to invest in their future while also preparing them to be the best employees they can be.