Report Shows 88.2% of Working Class Struggle to Find Jobs with Adequate Pay

Roughly 88.2 percent of Nigerians in the working-age bracket are without formal salaried employment, based on findings from The PUNCH’s analysis.

Statistics sourced from the National Bureau of Statistics reveal that merely around 11.8 percent of working-age Nigerians were involved in paid employment during the initial quarter of 2023.

According to, the category of paid employment encompasses any job compensated by salary or wages under a contract—whether documented or not—to another individual, entity, or business, spanning both formal and informal economic setups.

The National Bureau of Statistics also brings to light a decrease of 1.6 percentage points in the portion of wage employment, plummeting from 13.4 percent in the final quarter of 2022 to 11.8 percent in the opening quarter of 2023.

The Nigeria Labour Force Survey report, spanning the fourth quarter of 2022 and the first quarter of 2023, states, “Wage employment’s portion was 13.4 percent in Q4 2022 and 11.8 percent in Q1 2023.”

However, unlike their prior report, the National Bureau of Statistics abstained from furnishing the total count of Nigerians within the working-age range.

In 2020, the National Bureau of Statistics had gauged Nigeria’s working-age populace at 122 million.

Further insight from the National Bureau of Statistics unveils that a majority of Nigerians are self-employed, while a minute fraction holds wage-based employment.

The report specifies, “A majority of Nigerians are self-employed, while a much smaller proportion hold wage jobs. In the last quarter of 2022 and the first quarter of 2023, 73.1 percent and 75.4 percent of employed Nigerians respectively operated within their personal business or agricultural activity as their primary occupation.”

“In contrast, 13.4 percent (in Q4 2022) and 11.8 percent (in Q1 2023) of employed Nigerians served as employees (holding wage-based employment) in their primary roles. An additional 10.7 percent (in Q4 2022) and 10.5 percent (in Q1 2023) of employed Nigerians were primarily involved in aiding a household business, receiving remuneration or indirect profit, even if it wasn’t their own enterprise.”

“A small segment of employed Nigerians were mainly occupied as apprentices or interns (2.6 percent in Q4 2022 and 2.2 percent in Q1 2023). Those assisting a household member working for an external entity amounted to approximately 0.2 percent in both Q4 2022 and Q1 2023.”

The analysis also exposes that factors such as gender, educational achievement, age, and rural-urban residence significantly influence the probability of holding wage-based employment.

Among the employed, males tend to dominate wage employment over females. Higher levels of educational attainment are associated with an increased likelihood of engaging in wage-based employment, with post-secondary education recipients being particularly inclined. Individuals aged above 65 or within the 15-24 range were less prone to primarily seeking wage-based employment. Urban residents, in comparison to rural counterparts, demonstrated a heightened engagement in wage-based jobs.

Despite marginal improvements, Nigeria still grapples with one of the most substantial unemployment rates in comparison to its neighboring countries.

National Bureau of Statistics data indicates unemployment rates of 0.7 percent in Niger, 3.9 percent in Ghana, 1.5 percent in Chad, and 1.8 percent in Benin.

Both Cameroon and Nigeria share an unemployment rate of 4.1 percent.

Nevertheless, the new methodology adopted by the National Bureau of Statistics has sparked criticism, with detractors asserting that it does not accurately mirror the reality within the country.

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