Peculiar problems of the Nigerian labor market

Aside series of persistent obstacles, shortcomings and problems, Nigeria, like every other developing country, is driving towards a stage where it could accommodate a good number of people from the domestic and foreign market just like some advanced countries of the world like France and America.

Naturally in the labor market, one would always see series of labor market behaviors such as demand for labor, supply of labor, job search, incomes and wages, unemployment, wage determination, inflation, migration and collective bargaining.

In the Nigerian scene, there are peculiar problems that deters the Nigerian labor market from functioning properly and these problems should be put into consideration. one major problem is the increasing rate of the labor force not marched with a corresponding increase in job opportunities. The total number of youths or graduate who are willing and ready to participate in the labor market cannot find places to work. The effect is that supply of labor increases while it demands falls drastically and at the end of the day, the problem compounds into low wage payments.

One other problem is that of industrial often occurs via strikes and other destructive forms of protest. These are thought to effect negatively the pace of economic development especially in affects all economic activities of the state, thus determination of wages are no longer triggered by the free interplay of the forces of demand and supply.

Theoretically, wages are supposed to be negotiated and not rewarded. Basically there is always an institutional arrangement for wage determination which could either be by collective bargaining, labor courts or sometimes the police force. Unfortunately the institutional arrangements are completely violated and flawed by the state which of course distorts the flow or functioning of the labor market. A very good example is the award of wages to workers by the state. According to Fajana (2000) this trend is capable of distorting the functioning of the labor market to the extent that a lot of disturbance factors accompanies the process of wage awards for example, inflation and more disputes are generated and or aggravated as the press celebrates such awards out of proportion.

The problem, of inflation also poses serious challenges to the functioning of the labor markets in Nigeria. There is usually a sustained and persistent increase in factor and commodity prices in the country with a lot of negative effects on the labor market. Inflation is most times heightened by low production, money laundering or structural defects which are very peculiar to the Nigerian economy.
The increase malfunctioning of imported ideas, approaches or strategies is another big factor. Based on observation, most theories, concepts, policies and programs imported from abroad do not work back home in Nigeria because of the difference in culture and historical background. Attempt to emulate foreign ideas or policies would end up aggravating the problems already faced in the Nigerian labor market rather than solving them.

Growing informalization of the economy, mismatch of skills, geographical mismatch. Inadequate dissimulation of information, political bias or interference and regional crisis are problems that need urgent attention.

The problems however, are not too big to be dealt with. Our educated elites should make adequate suggestions as to how these problems could be tackled and the state should seek a way of curbing inflation and prevent employees and employers from engaging themselves in any form of distasteful industrial action.


  1. Wow…this piece was so helpful. I found it just at right i needed it….makes my study sooo easy and clear. Right on point. Thank you.


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