More young Nigerians are willing to embrace entrepreneurship following the devastating impacts of COVID-19 on many businesses, which are either unable to employ new hands or out rightly disengaging some of their workforce.
This is according to a National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) survey, the 12th in a series of COVID-19 Impact Monitoring reports said to have been done with some support from the World Bank. The survey, conducted in April 2021, collected information from a sample size of 1,950 households (aged 15-25 years) randomly selected from each household.
“When asked what their dream job is, the most commonly reported was trader or businessperson (22%). It is the most common even among the different subgroups of youth, such as by sex or consumption quartile. Other common dream jobs reported were doctor (17%), engineer (8%), and tailor (7%),” the survey report states.
The survey also shows that these aspirations seem to be misaligned with the state of Nigerian labour market, especially following the COVID-19 crisis, which could result in widespread disappointment and frustration without appropriate policies. It is no surprise as the pain from the impact of the pandemic was felt mostly among younger Nigerians between the ages of 15 and 24 years, as unemployment rate was 53.4 percent as of Q4’2020.
“Looking at the instability of the economy and the labour market, they are loving the idea of entrepreneurship because people are looking at how to make ends meet and generate revenue for themselves,” Jennifer Oyelade, director of Transquisite Consulting, an international human resource consultancy, says.
If this trend continues, this could be positive for the economy as businessmen also known as entrepreneurs are important to market economies because they can act as the wheels of the economic growth of the country. Olayinka Onikanni, an analyst at FBNQuest Capital, notes that if people continue to aspire to have their own businesses, it will reduce unemployment rate because when they have their own businesses, at some point, they will need to expand, thereby employing more people.
Also, Oyelade says, “Looking at fintechs and tech start-up companies, you will see that a lot of their seed funding comes from international organisations. So, with that being said, international partnerships are helping to grow the economy through entrepreneurs and what that will do for white-collar jobs is that they will depend on these entrepreneurs to remain relevant in the economy and also to keep the circulation of jobs.”
The survey also highlights another relevant metric to define youth aspirations to whether they know someone who holds their dream job. As these persons would generally serve as role models to young people when they are considering their future profession.
“More than two-thirds of Nigerian youth report knowing someone in their community who has their dream job, but 47 percent of them know of a woman in their community that has their dream job,” the survey states.