Amina Oyagbola Discusses Key Factors Impacting the Future of Nigeria’s Workforce
Philanthropist and global business leader Amina Oyagbola believes that the current state of Nigeria’s workforce must undergo important changes and shifts in the near-term, in order to be prepared for the needs and goals of the long-term.
According to Amina Oyagbola, who is the Founder and Chairperson of the non-profit organization WISCAR (Women in Successful Careers), ensuring that Nigeria’s workforce is equipped and empowered to lead the future is a matter of focusing on three critical priorities: gender equality, job creation, and education.
According to the International Monetary Fund, improving gender equality in Nigeria would boost the country’s economic output by 1–1.25 percent, which would translate into a $3.75 billion and $4 billion (USD) increase in GDP annually.
Amina Oyagbola explains that gender equality involves empowering entry and mid-level professional women so they can obtain positions of influence and leadership in the corporate world. At the same time, Nigeria must focus on fostering and cultivating women and men change agents across the private, public, and non-profit sector to work collaboratively together and develop policies that level the playing field for both genders. Amina Oyagbola added that the Nigerian workforce and citizens must put people and values first — not stereotypes and sexism.
For Nigerians to thrive in the workplace of tomorrow, policymakers, officials, leaders and other decision-makers must make a critical distinction between employment, and quality job creation. Employment is focused on matching available opportunities with available workers — which has historically been a challenge in Nigeria, with the unemployment rate climbing to 23.10 percent in the last quarter of 2018. Job creation, however, is focused on creating quality new and better opportunities that drive individuals, families, communities and the country as-a-whole forward.
Amina Oyagbola stated that while large enterprises certainly have a role and responsibility to create quality jobs for today’s and tomorrow’s workers, ultimately the engine of vocational change will come from the small and mid-sized business sector.
To succeed and thrive in the jobs of tomorrow, Nigeria must invest significantly and strategically in advanced skills development. A review by the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) and the United Nations Industrial Organization (UNIDO) revealed that Nigerians lack the skills they need to fill vacancies in a staggering 925 trades across a variety of sectors, including: petrochemical, housing, textiles, automobiles, leather, and several more. As a result of this lack of supply, key roles remain unfilled and companies cannot expand, or jobs are given to the non-Nigerian workforce.
Amina Oyagbola believes that emphasis must be placed on the long term, focusing on what skills are needed for jobs of the future in fields like artificial intelligence, robotics, medical devices, green technology, and more. By making key investments now, Nigeria will be prepared to embrace the future — instead of bracing for impact.