Undergraduate And Graduates Perceptions Of Factors Responsible For Youths Unemployment

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Project and Seminar Material for Education


This study examined undergraduate and graduates perceptions of factors responsible for youths unemployment in Lagos State. The study was carried out among graduates in national directorate of employment and undergraduate students of the University of Lagos, Akoka. A sample size of 150 respondents were selected for the study. Structured questionnaire was used for data collection. The collected questionnaires were analyzed using frequency counts. and percentages. The research questions were answered using mean (x) scores and weighted mean.

The study revealed that entrepreneurial education in the institution was an important tool for employment creation, also inadequate indigenous companies causes unemployment in Nigeria. Again, there are several challenges facing Nigerian graduates in their quest at becoming entrepreneurs. Such challenges are: lack of enabling environment and good governance. Base on the findings, it was recommended that Federal Government should increase its financial participation that will attract loans for the entrepreneurs and that universities must design specific and practical entrepreneurial short courses, which could run for four to six months to create awareness about job creation.

Chapter One


1.1 Background to the Study

In Nigeria, unemployment of graduates has become a teething problem .The scourge which has often caused problems for government in industrialized nations elsewhere is now assuming gigantic dimension in Nigeria. Graduate unemployment in our country is cumulative. It increases as institutions turn out graduates annually. The rate at which young people are leaving school and seeking employment continuously outpaces the capacity of the economy to provide employment.

The value system of the Nigerian society has changed due to the transition from school to work to earn a living. This is because Nigeria that once harbored aliens from west African countries and beyond for employment is currently recording high rate of unemployment (Anyaogu, 2009). The scourge of graduate unemployment in Nigeria is blamed on the university curriculum which has been geared towards stereotyped goals and jobs without adequate practical work. In other words, graduates from our universities acquire knowledge without entrepreneurial skills which would enable them, on graduation to practice what was learnt in school, create jobs for themselves and others and participate in economic development in Nigeria.

However, Awogbenle and Iwuamadi (2010) observed from the excerpts of statistics obtained from the National Manpower Board and Federal Bureau of Statistics showed that Nigeria has a youth population of eighty (80) million representing 60 percent of the total population of the country. Sixty four (64) million of them are unemployed while one million six hundred thousand (1.6 million) are underemployed.

In order to make university education functional, relevant and practical, the Federal Government of Nigeria, through the National Universities Commission (NUC) made entrepreneurship education a compulsory course for all undergraduate students in Nigerian universities. .The aim of the policy is to ginger in the students entrepreneurial spirit that will help to curb the increasing rate of graduate unemployment. Tulgan (1999) states that the primary purpose of entrepreneurial education is to develop in the learners entrepreneurial capacities and mindsets. This will help graduates to recognize business opportunities, mobilize resources and exploit the opportunity for self- employment which will be beneficial for community and national development (Uche et al., 2009).

Mathabathe (2006) notes that one of the causes of graduate unemployment is the shortfall or mismatch between the skills students develop during their courses and the skills that employers need. Graduates should not only acquire skills, but such skills should also be relevant to changing labour market needs. Grisel and Parker (2009) assert that in South Africa, there is a common misunderstanding between higher education and the work place about the role of each other. Employers complain about the quality of university graduates. Higher education however feels that employers are not fully appreciative of the qualities and skills graduate possess.

According to Hancock et al. (2009), the skills learned by students during their academic career can be placed into the two broad skill categories: (1) Technical and (2) Non-technical. Technical skills refer to subject-specific or content specific knowledge and competence that are relevant to a particular discipline. Non-technical skills are those skills which are relevant across many different jobs or professions. Non-technical skills are typically not job specific. They are generic to a range of different work contexts. Jackson and Chapman (2012) point out that today’s employers often require new graduates to add immediate value. Thus, undergraduates must develop both technical and non-technical skills to achieve this goal. The development of only technical skills is no longer considered sufficient for graduates. Du Pre and Williams (2011) concur that the most effective way for graduates to stand out among the crowd is to prove that they possess outstanding credentials in a number of non-industry specific desired skill areas.

Schultz (2008) and Wilson et al. (2012) agree that to be successful in the tough environment, candidates for jobs must distinguish themselves from other candidates with similar qualifications. It is no longer sufficient for new graduates to have knowledge of an academic subject. Jarvis (2000) argues that universities must prepare and equip graduates with entry-level knowledge and skills for the labour market. In addition, universities must equip graduates with the ability to play a leadership role as a custodian of knowledge.

The development of youths who are the potentia1leaders of any given country the world over, ought to top the goals of any nation. It is simply because the youths constitute a formidable force and if their energies are properly channeled, there will be immense growth and development. However, when such energies are dissipated on activities that are detrimental to national development, such a country will definitely experience myriads of problems.

There is general agreement that attitudes towards the entrepreneur, entrepreneurial activity, and its social function are determinant factors for university students to decide an entrepreneurial career. Considering the empirical studies, results reveal a negative entrepreneur’s image of younger generation. Many studies have an unfavourable perception of desirability of new venture creation and only a small percentage has the firm intention to create a new company.

Currently, entrepreneurship education is being offered in all universities and other higher institutions. The introduction of entrepreneurship education into the university curriculum is an empowerment strategy for graduate self-employment, self-reliance and poverty reduction. Where appropriate skills, attitude and knowledge accompanied with appropriate practical work are taught to the students, they would on graduation become self- employed and employers of labor. This will reduce the rate of unemployment if not completely eradicated and move Nigeria from a consumer to producer nation (Okah and Odelola, 2009). It is on this premise that the researcher is motivated to find out undergraduate students perception of factors responsible for unemployment in Lagos State.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

The issue of unemployment among the populace particularly in the context of the youths is a big problem in Nigeria and in deep other developing nations of the world. The resultants effects of the problem is the youth restlessness, crime, and others social vices in the society. It is against this foregoing that this study examines reasons for this unemployment is the Nigerian communities with Lagos metamorphosis as a case study.

1.3 Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of this study is to investigate undergraduate students’ perception of factors responsible for unemployment in Lagos State. Specifically, the study is embarked upon to;

  1. Find out the undergraduate students’ perception to entrepreneurial education in tertiary institutions
  2. Examine undergraduate students’ inclination to entrepreneurial spirit after tertiary institutions
  3. Examine students’ perception on the causes of unemployment among Nigerian graduates
  4. Find out the challenges facing Nigerian graduates in their efforts to becoming entrepreneurs

1.4 Research Questions

The following questions were raised to give directions to the study;

  1. What are the perceptions of undergraduate students towards entrepreneurial education in tertiary institutions?
  2. What inclinations do undergraduate students have to entrepreneurship after graduating from tertiary institutions?
  3. What is the perception of Nigerian graduates towards the unemployment in Lagos
  4. What are the challenges facing Nigerian graduates in their efforts at becoming entrepreneurs

1.5 Significance of the Study

The will provide useful insights into the state of entrepreneurship education for a range of role-players in Nigeria. Therefore, findings from this study would be most useful for policy makers, academics, educational institutions and the public in general. Furthermore, this study could assist in the following situations:

Help tertiary institutions understand the shortcomings of current entrepreneurship programmes and raise awareness about developing suitable entrepreneurship programmes to prepare students for entrepreneurship as a career option;

Serve as a documented source on entrepreneurship education for curriculum developers in Nigeria, thus it might inform Nigerian educators to integrate curriculum and teaching methods that foster entrepreneurial competencies, skills and attitudes.

It is hope that the outcome of this study will expose undergraduate student to the need to develop them and look beyond seeking employment from organization to become self reliance after graduating from institution.

1.6 Scope of the Study

Due to time and financial constraints this study, will be limited to undergraduates in government owned institutions and graduates employment seekers in Lagos State metropolis, Nigeria.

1.7 Definition of Relevant Terms

In order to avoid ambiguity, the following terms are operationally defined thus;


An occupation by which a person earns a living; work; business.


A person who sets up a business or businesses, taking on financial risks in the hope of profit. Also this can be defined as a person who organizes and manages a business undertaking, assuming the risk for the sake of profit.

Entrepreneurial Spirit:

It’s an attitude and approach to thinking that actively seeks out change, rather than waiting to adapt to change.

Graduate Employment Seekers:

This are graduates from colleges or universities seeking employment in an organization.


The way in which something is regarded, understood, or interpreted. This can also be someone view about an issue

Tertiary Institutions:

A high-level education in which students study for degrees and academic research is done.

Undergraduate Students:

An undergraduate is a college or university studentwho’s not a graduate student.


This occurs when a person who is actively searching for employment is unable to find work.

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