The Days of White Collar Jobs Are Numbered

White Collar Jobs and Education 

Education at all levels has assumed major importance all the world over; particularly in the developing countries where the bulk of the population is predominantly illiterate and where the need to develop adequate indigenous high-level manpower is very urgent and great. 

In Nigeria today, in spite of our sparing development, numerous personal commitments and vast sums of money that have to be expended by our government annually on a number of economic and social services to the people, not less than 40% of our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) otherwise known as the National Income is spent on education at various levels by the governments of the Federation. 

This colossal expenditure, all things being equal, will tend to increase every year since ours is a growing population with an ever-increasing proportion of young people. 

One could even correctly forecast that in another decade from now, education will consume at least 50% of our National Income except that the present trend is reversed at both the government and individual levels in a miraculous manner.

Investment in Education and White Collar Jobs

An investment of this nature and magnitude in human resources, you will agree with me, will normally have a multiplier effect on our National Income, and of course, will make a significant impact on our social and economic developments provided that our educated youths are gainfully employed in the fields in which they are most suitable. 

But if they should have to roam the streets in our large towns and cities feverishly looking for white-collar jobs which do not exist, or remain permanently unemployed as some thousands of them do nowadays, our voluminous investment in education will not only be useless but will undoubtedly make the nation poorer. 

This is no doubt the converse of our objective. Further, the young people will eventually become bitter against the society, frustrated and criminally inclined, and feel unwanted in their own country. 

An explosive situation like this if not arrested before it is too late can easily result in a wide-scale disorder in which valuable properties and precious lives may be lost. 

Difficulties of Job-Seekers in the Towns and Cities for White Collar Jobs

Even right now, we have not successfully nipped in the bud the fundamental cause of students’ unrest in our Universities and secondary schools and the urban areas which were formerly considered ‘‘Eldorado’’ where all good things of life abounded and into which our young people still migrate in large numbers are fast becoming places of distress and disappointment to these unfortunate youths. 

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Traditional avenues of employment are rapidly drying up, price inflation and consequent rising standard of living, besides, expensive and chaotic transport system have combined together to make fife exceptionally difficult for the job seekers from the rural areas. 

Problems Posed by Education in Preparation of White Collar Jobs

While education at different levels has certainly boosted the stature of Nigeria both at home and abroad and accelerated general developments in the last years. 

The indisputable fact is that education has posed for this country great social and economic problems to which appropriate solution has not been found. Every year we turn out a large number of University Graduates in humanities, law, medicine, science and technology; about 12,000 secondary school leavers excluding the drop-outs and more than 15,000 primary school leavers. 

These figures will no doubt progressively rise every year making more herculean and formidable the task of providing jobs for the products of our educational institutions. 

Whether we blame it on faulty economic planning or over-zealous or poor leadership, we must admit the painful fact that we have placed the cart before the horse in the sense that the number of job-seekers flooding our restricted labour market in various parts of the country by a very wide margin has exceeded the few dispersed and mainly small scale industries we have at present in Nigeria while the public sector, is becoming congested and can only absorb a very limited proportion of job applicants. 

Employment Opportunities in the Civil Service and Statutory Corporation

Our civil service, statutory corporations, boards and government-owned companies cannot recruit labour on any large scale for financial reasons. 

They direct many job applicants to try their luck in the private sector which is only expanding slowly due to paucity of capable entrepreneurs, scarcity of short and long-term capital, the predominance of one-man business, widespread poverty of consumers, effects of the civil war, foreign exchange: and import restrictions.

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Expensive labour, wage and salary increase without corresponding increases in productivity of labour, lack of industrial tradition and experience, low level of enterprise and spirit of adventure and finally due to domination of our economy by foreign capitalists and industrialists with whom their indigenous counterparts and businessmen cannot compete on favourable terms at present. 

Remedies for Unemployment of Educated People


Having now seen the nature and dimension of the unemployment problem confronting our educated youths, remedies should be prescribed for necessary and immediate action. 

First and foremost, the acquisition of technical skills and experience, we must realise, can raise labour efficiency and productivity and increase self-employment, granted availability of capital, market, favourable economic climate, political stability and sufficient government aid and encouragement in appropriate cases. 

Our technical schools, colleges of technology and polytechnics are grossly inadequate for a huge country like Nigeria and to increase their numbers as fast, as the present circumstance demands will not only involve years of planning and construction and so on but will also involve vast expenditure which we can hardly afford now that our ambitious and very expensive Four-Year Development Plan has not been successfully implemented. 

 The role that can be played by the Private Sector


As an interim and realistic measure, therefore, well organized private and government-owned presses such as the Daily Time, Sun newspaper and a host of others which are well equipped and have qualified and competent personnel can be persuaded to help train our young ones in the art or printing. 

After, say a period of three to five years in training, the successful apprentices can go out to look for jobs as master printers or establish on their own if their parents and relations can help them with finance. 

Other industrial concerns can also help our children in a similar capacity. Our governments both at the Federal and State levels should be able to give some grants to these establishments to defray the costs of training our boys. 

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The money for such grants can be found if our governments can stamp out smuggling, spend less on barren education, globe-trotting, public corporations, and on a certain white elephant or unproductive projects. 

Also, our governments can raise more revenue by overhauling men and women who parade their wealth on our streets and those who spend lavishly during various ceremonies are to pay far more than the poor who can hardly afford three square meals a day. 

Finally, whenever the facilities exist, our school leavers should be trained as hairdressers, seamstresses, weavers, cooks, farmers, bricklayers, Copy-typists, photographers, bakers, electricians, sign-writers, radio and television repairers, tailors, painters and draughtsmen on a much larger scale than at present. 

After all, it must be realised now that all hands must be on deck if we sincerely wish to increase employment opportunities for our children who will be the leaders of tomorrow.


In conclusion, those university graduates who will not easily secure suitable white collar jobs, eg. graduates in arts, social sciences, agriculture etc. should learn to break new grounds. 

If our illiterate brothers and sisters can fend for themselves and materially prosper, how much more of our highly literate young and energetic people. 

The Tony Elumelu Foundation for instance is no doubt giving the right lead by its plan in giving $5,000 grants to entrepreneurs across Africa. 

They can even form themselves into limited liability companies or cooperative bodies so that they may operate on an economic scale. 

The success of this laudable plan should be a great incentive to other state governments. In the same way graduates in business management, engineering, pharmacy, economics, and so on should float viable companies with government and bank loans repayable on easy terms. 

After all, there are limitless opportunities in the private sector if only we can endeavour to expand it by working very hard and mobilising our resources both human and material and by utilizing these resources to our fullest advantage. The time has now come for us to face courageously the grim realities of our economic situation in Nigeria. 

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