In the first quarter of 2023, only 11.8% of Nigerians of working age had salaried jobs, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). This signifies a decline from 13.4% in the last quarter of 2022. The definition of wage employment encompasses any paid position, regardless of its formality. The report from the NBS also highlighted that the majority of employed Nigerians are self-employed.
There was no specific number given for the current working-age population in Nigeria, but in 2020, this figure stood at 122 million. The data further reveals that a vast majority, 73.1% in Q4 2022 and 75.4% in Q1 2023, operated their own business or worked in farming as their primary source of income. Meanwhile, those assisting in family businesses without directly owning them comprised 10.7% in Q4 2022 and 10.5% in Q1 2023.
Factors like gender, education, age, and location play a role in the likelihood of having a salaried job. Men, those with higher education, and urban residents are more likely to have wage employment. Conversely, the young (15-24 years) and the elderly (above 65 years) are least likely to be in such positions.
Although there’s been progress, Nigeria’s unemployment rate is still high compared to nearby nations. While countries like Niger, Ghana, Chad, and Benin have unemployment rates below 4%, both Cameroon and Nigeria stand at 4.1%. Some critics argue that the NBS’s methodology doesn’t fully capture the employment situation in Nigeria.