Challenges of Self Employment for Nigerian Graduates



The tertiary institutions in Nigeria are like a non-stop automatic conveyor belts that continue to enroll hundreds of thousand students annually and land them in the labour market annually also as they graduate. Neither the government nor the private sector can employ all of them. Out of the hundreds of thousand that graduate yearly, only about 10% are employed. Some of the ones who are employed by the private sector lose their jobs after some years to downsizing or rightsizing. The companies claim to operate in harsh business environment. They complain high cost of production due to inadequate infrastructure, unfair taxation — multiple taxation — high cost of borrowing, policy inconsistency. To cut cost, they have to either employ few staff or sack some of the already employed.

In Nigeria today, contract staffing and out sourcing are becoming the new trend in the labour market where jobs are on temporary contract basis without security. Read more on Why Entrepreneurs Go For Cheap Labour. According to National Bureau of Statistics, unemployment rate is at all time high, 33.3% of Nigerians are unemployed. 

In the light of all this, self employment is the right way to go. The scarce job opportunities in Nigeria poses a huge challenge to graduates, and they have to take the boo by the horn and create employment for themselves through entrepreneurship. 

What is Self-employment?

It is sustainable economic activity one can engage in to earn a living. Given the bleak future in getting white collar jobs, self employment via entrepreneurship is an idea whose time has come. It offers a viable option out of unemployment. Instead of being  job seekers, they become job and wealth creators through entrepreneurship. Read Rewards of Resources of Entrepreneurs to learn more benefits of self-employment. 

Challenges graduates will face in setting up businesses are the problem of :

Identifying viable business opportunities

Nigerian graduates will face the difficulty in identifying viable business opportunities. Getting business idea and scanning the business opportunity in it to determine possibility of making profit from it is not easy task. 


For a graduate to venture into entrepreneurial business enterprise, he has to posses the requisite skills to harness entrepreneurial business opportunity and the competence to run a business successfully. This is why it’s important for entrepreneurship course to be included in the school curricular to equip Nigerian graduates with the entrepreneurial skills to become self-employed and job creators instead of looking for wage employment after graduation. Graduates need to engage in self development to acquire skills outside their area of studies.


Capital is one of the 5 Resources Entrepreneur Must Have At His Disposal To Harness Entrepreneurial Business Opportunity. As one who just finished school or who has been jobless for some time, raising capital will be the  most challenge a graduate will face in starting up a business. Capital is the backbone of every business enterprise, the faster you lay your hands on it, the faster you start up your business. It’s not easy to get business capital support in Nigeria. Financial institutions don’t give collateral-free loans. In fact, Nigerian financial institutions don't give credit facilities to startups. 


Nigerian graduates will have the challenge of facing stiff competition in any business area. It will take offering exceptional and quality goods and services at possible low prices to penetrate the market as a new business. Unfortunately, it’s difficult for small and new businesses to offer quality goods and services at cheaper prices than existing large businesses. To get around this entrepreneurs have to go for cheap labour. Your business location also plays important role in conquering stiff competition.


The challenge of becoming successful self-employed will be in mastering the self-discipline that is required to pursue your goals and satisfy your customers through setting up small business enterprise. You need self-discipline to be able to manage your business funds especially at the formative years. This period is very important in running a successful business, if not the business may likely fail. We wrote extensively on Things Small Business Owner Must Expect. A self-employed should be able to separate his business finance from his personal finance and be discipline enough not to deep his hands into his business finance for his personal needs.

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