I happen to run a HR consultancy (You know that by now I’m sure) and come in contact with a lot of clueless graduates who live in la la land and have no idea that their expectations can only be met in Eldorado.
So today, I just want to talk to you about life after school, Nigeria’s labour market and most especially your expectations about work. If statistics are anything to go by, as things presently stand:
- 40 million youths between 18 and 25 years are unemployed
- 1 out of every 5 adults in Nigeria is unemployed and just 1 out of every 10 university graduates gets a job!
- 80% of the country’s university graduates are unemployable!
I didn’t conjure the figures, sadly.
For those of you about to graduate, through with school or rounding off NYSC, the thoughts I’m sharing today are specifically for you.
While it’s important to be ambitious in seeking opportunities, it’s also useful to blend expectations with your level of education and experience. You are a fresh graduate with little or no experience. The situation in the job market is dire. Unemployment is at its peak. So you are somewhat disadvantaged compared to your more experienced contemporaries who have worked for a couple of years and possess skills they can show off to prospective employers.
Bearing that in mind, when a job opportunity presents itself, be careful not to price yourself our of the job market. Do your homework, what are wages like within that industry? How much do people with your level of skill and experience earn generally? Looking at the employer and the value you are offering, how much should you ask for? If you still cannot come up with a range, play safe and throw the ball back in their court. Ask them to make you an offer bearing in mind that they definitely have a budget for that position.
Having said all that it’s important to stress the fact that experience is more important than what you earn especially as a fresh graduate. To get to a place where you have all the aces, you need experience. Display some flexibility and enthusiasm! And even if what you’re offered is below what you expected, take the offer and learn! It increases your marketability and makes you more attractive to other employers.
All the very best.