Coping Mechanism Among Unemployed Graduates

Project and Seminar Material for Sociology

Coping Mechanism Among Unemployed Graduates


This paper explores how unemployed graduates cope through various strategies.

Unemployment in Nigeria, particularly in the form of graduate unemployment, has become pronounced in the last two decades due primarily to upsurge in the output from tertiary education and inelastic labour absorptive capacity of the Nigerian labour market for the services of university and polytechnic graduates. The study employed both primary and secondary sources of data collection such: as survey design, interviews and journal reviews. This research recommends that youth should engage in profitable activities such acquiring soft skills and expertise while still searching for jobs rather than sitting idle home.

Chapter One


1.1 Background of the Study

Unemployment among graduates in Nigeria is one of the most critical problems the country is facing. Nigeria is a country passing through multiple transitions, form the period of colonialism to independence, from illiteracy to literacy, subsistence agriculture to monetary economy, rural life to urban cosmopolitan life, form the day of employment to the days of mass unemployment. Year after year in Nigeria, the increasing number of graduates joining the labour market keeps rising geometrically and any hope for them to secure jobs looks pessimistic. The tempo of economic development does not keep pace with the rate of educational advancement. That a developing country should suffer from surplus labour is hardly surprising, but generally, unemployment is one thing and graduate unemployment is another. Unemployment has in all their ramifications come to stay with us since the era of oil boom.

According to Daily Star, June 30 1986, unemployment is described as a situation where there are few jobs to go round the great number of people willing to work”. Here, it could be both educated and uneducated people in the country. Graduates unemployment has become some of the basic economic social and political problems facing so many states in Nigeria recently. The graduates in this context are’ generally the school leavers from our post primary and higher schools of learning. This pitiable “labour forces” that are left redundant are ever ready to put in their best services in any kind of jobs, but would not be called upon to do so because of the situation in the country.

In Lagos metropolis, there has been a persistent increase in the number of unemployed graduates of institutions of higher learning. It is a problem that has consistently forced itself on the minds of different people in different ages. It is time we redressed our mind sincerely to the issue of graduate unemployment. The past government officials in the state had failed to give an accurate employment figure of the labour force available. and this has perpetuated to pose some dangerous threats to the socio­economic stability of the state than usual.

On this note, therefore, it becomes imperative to give a brief definition of unemployment. According to Wikipedia, Unemployment (or joblessness) occurs when people are without work and actively seeking work. The unemployment rate 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 labor force. Also, according to Nigeria Statesman May 28, 1986, “Unemployment connotes the scarcity of job both in public and private sectors. This may be traceable to mismanagement of productive resources, immobility of labour between jobs, economic crisis like oil doom etc. especially in our predominately capitalist economy.

Unlike in the past, graduates of schools of higher learning now roam the streets and motor parks in search of non-existing job opportunities and this has created immeasurable number of social and economic problems in the status quo of the society. This problem therefore, is of staggering magnitude because idleness influences all our actions and designs. It corrupts the graduates and is the bane of the middle ages. This research is also intended to find out the root causes of the increasing number of unemployed graduates and the strategies designed by graduates to cope with it.

It is of paramount importance to stress that no other economic problem needed more immediate attention than finding job for the growing number of unemployed graduates. In the light of these problems, the former Head of State and Commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces General Sani Abacha in his 1st October, 1995 broadcast lifted the ban on employment. There is no doubt that the country has witnessed an upsurge in crime such as drug addiction and sophisticated armed robberies while broken homes, malnutrition and many other social vices are on the increase too.

Other factors that contributed to this situation also remain an integral part of this research. Such factors include the expansion of the existing schools and establishment of new schools without a collateral increase in industries to absorb produced graduates, the behaviour of graduate ‘themselves towards jobs like farming construction of roads, bridges, school taxi cars and also the over-dependence of a mono-export-oriented economy etc. the efforts of the previous government in areas of infusion of skill­ orientation in educational scheme will be scrutinized in order to have a balanced an analysis. Did the government evolves stringent measures aimed at eradicating problem of unemployment in the state or did they apply the myopic machineries which appealed to policy makers because of case or execution?

The answer to this question with relevance to the historical background of Akala area of Mushin, Lagos requires meticulous evaluation in order to find a lasting solution. The researcher will therefore, use questionnaire and review of past work in the same direction. Most regrettably, however, there is scarcity of domestic data relating to the number of unemployed graduate of school of higher learning.

1.2 Statement of Problem

The unabated increase in the rate of unemployment among the youth and how they cope with it, with particular emphasis on higher institution graduate has been a source of concern to the entire nation. More so, being aware of the social vices that this situation could result in makes it more disabusing. This situation is a dilemma when we consider many policies, and legislation so far put in place by the government to cub this mince and how ineffective they have been as an instrument to reduce unemployment. The researcher, having considered the above and decided to study the under listed problems with the view to pinpoint the cause, coping strategies and possibly proffering lasting solutions to them.

  1. The increase in the rate of unemployment amongst higher institution graduate and how they are coping with it.
  2. Understanding the capacity of the university graduate we have today including those who have studied in very essential field which before now was not so. Nevertheless they suffer unemployment.
  3. The increase in the scope of private sector participation which should result in the increase in employment of university graduate has not been true in our situation.
  4. The federal government recently increased the capital base of the bank of industry so as to allow more graduate to participate in the federal government graduate loan scheme, with the aim of being self-employed, but this has not yielded any meaningful result or reduced the unemployment toll.

1.3 Objectives of Study

The general objectives of this study is to determine the coping strategies among unemployed youths in Akala, Mushin Local government area.

The specific objectives include;

  1. Understanding the socio-economic implications of unemployment.
  2. Identifying the coping mechanisms among unemployed graduate.
  3. To recommend and suggest measures at reducing unemployment in Lagos State in Nigeria.

1.4 Research Questions

  1. How does it feel to be an unemployed graduate?
  2. Are there unemployed graduates?
  3. Are there enough jobs to absorb graduates or there are graduates that are lazy in getting available jobs?
  4. What kind of skills makes a graduate employable?

1.5 Hypotheses

This study would be geared towards testing the following null hypotheses.

Hypothesis One

Ho: There is no significant difference between the available jobs and unemployed graduate rate

Hypothesis Two

Ho: There is no significant difference between the structure of the society and graduate unemployment rate

1.5 Significance of the Study

Owing to the down turn in the economic fortunes of this country over the years, the Nigerian graduates have lost their pride of place. Their status in the society has continued to dwindle. Today, it is sheer mirage for fresh graduates to dream of the good things of life. They are made to understand and accept that to graduates, unemployment should be seen as a passing phase in the history of the nation. It is very doubtful if the much desired change in the near future will bring us anything.

Therefore, this study is aimed at showing the coping strategies among unemployed graduates. It is desirable to create a new forum in which the government plays a dominant role and actively promotes private enterprises, establishes new enterprises with a centrally directed mobilization of resources towards the definite objectives of solving the graduate problem. The solution to this national malaise lies in turnaround or direction on the economy.

1.6 Scope and Delimitation of the Study

The study on the problem of graduate unemployment and the coping strategies among graduates is such that would have taken me to different parts of the country. However, as a result of financial problems and more importantly the time factor i will be limiting this study to Akala community area of Mushin local government, area of Lagos state.

Due to the nature of topic, the researcher limits the respondents to unemployed graduates in the selected area.

It is not uncommon that during the process of this research work, some difficulties were overcome. These difficulties are:

  1. The time given for this research was not enough. The study is supposed to last for at least six months to enable a thorough study on the topic.
  2. Scarcity of materials also posed a constraint to the researcher since no text has been written purely on the topic. Most libraries where such helping materials were found refused to allow the researcher make use of them.
  3. Financial constraint contributes in no small measure in impending the length and width of research. Cost of materials, transport fare and scarcity of fuel were among the limitations of the study.

1.7 Definition of Terms


This means involuntary idleness. A person is described as unemployed when, despite his ability and willingness to work is jobless.


Done on purpose


One who finished a course of study at a university or polytechnics.


Not perfect, lacking something


People giving answers to questions.


Continues steadily in a course of action inspite of difficulty.

1.8 Organization of the Study

This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows

  • Chapter one is concerned with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), historical background, statement of problem, objectives of the study, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope and limitation of the study, definition of terms and historical background of the study.
  • Chapter two highlights the theoretical framework on which the study is based, thus the review of related literature.
  • Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study.
  • Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding.
  • Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study

Chapter Five

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Introduction

It is important to ascertain that the objective of this study was to ascertain a critical analysis of coping mechanism among unemployed graduates.

In the preceding chapter, the relevant data collected for this study were presented, critically analyzed and appropriate interpretation given. In this chapter, certain recommendations are made, which in the opinion of the researcher will be of benefit in addressing the challenges of unemployment.

5.2 Summary

This study aimed at having a critical analysis of coping mechanism among unemployed graduates. Three were raised. These objectives include: Understanding the socio-economic implications of unemployment, identifying the coping mechanisms among unemployed graduate, to recommend and suggest measures at reducing unemployment in Lagos State in Nigeria.

5.3 Conclusion

Based on the above findings pertaining to the objectives of the study the following conclusions are drawn.
The graduates in this research exposed remarkable resilience in coping with their situation of being in search for a job during the economic crisis. This study was used on three specific coping domains, namely seeking a job, spending the day, and coping with limited financial means. The graduates studied used both emotional and problem oriented coping strategies to deal with the situation. Regarding their problem solving strategies we see that they preferred a rather pragmatic attitude. We saw willingness to look for a job outside their specific field of study and below an academic level of study. Also, we saw, but not for everybody, a certain willingness to do unpaid work as a mean to get enrolled in the job market. This pragmatic attitude cannot be explained as a sign of desperation: doing everything because of being desperate. On the contrary, the respondents seem rather successful in putting their situation of being without a regular job into perspective.

5.4 Recommendation

Having established the fact that graduate unemployment exists in the study area, it becomes pertinent at this juncture to recommend some measures that will serve as coping mechanism, which will be of tremendously useful in solving the problems of graduate unemployment. These were gathered based on interactions during the course of the study. They are subsumed as follows:

Isolation is considered to be a common pitfall of unemployed graduate. The idea of “get out of the house”, find good place to socialize, conduct job search and reach out on a regular basis

Unemployed graduates should look around community and find worthwhile opportunities to use their skills and talents. This may be a way to gain new skills, engage in networking and keep them active and energized.
Proper educational and development policies. One of the primary objectives of developmental policy should be aimed at reducing unemployment to the barest minimum. The educational system should be overhauled to place less emphasis on theoretical education.

High priority should be assigned to the development of rural areas with a view of attracting more graduates in these places. Also, there should be proper student counselling in choosing careers. By and large; demographically, in term of population, parent or would be couple should be encouraged to adopt family planning system, bear lesser number of children and a mass campaign of family planning should be vigorously pursued to ensure slim down pollution for the nation as a whole.

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