Remember how back in the primary school days, the brilliant kids were told they would become doctors, lawyers and scientists? On getting to secondary school, the narrative was slightly altered to afford banking and engineering sizable slots in the destiny plot. Later on in the university, they were made to realize that all was not as it seemed, and right after graduation, it dawned on everybody (brilliant or not) that they could be whom they wanted to be. The whole plot sounds like conformism but when you’re in Nigeria, you mightn’t always have it smooth with you. Many of us would have become great individuals with remarkable achievements at a young age but you know what they say, if wishes were horses, men would ride them to coma.
Have you ever wondered why some people were lucky to get jobs right after NYSC? Of course there are nepotistic advantages, diabolical permutations and strategic networking. But it’s hardly ever as a result of luck. There are people who would never be out of jobs, irrespective of how badly the Nigerian economy contracts. It’s not luck, it’s just as a result of the relevance of their field to an establishment. While it may be true that banking jobs are arguably the most unstable in Nigeria today, there are still some bankers who would ride the tide and stand firm after an occupational overhaul by an administration. Perhaps if we had received proper career guidance and counseling lessons in our early years, many of us would probably not be in the occupational fix in which we currently find ourselves.
This list was compiled following analysis of data gathered from top job listing websites in Nigeria coupled with strategic evaluation of the job market in general. Also, this list in no way undermines the importance of any profession, it just serves as an indicator of the current job situation in the country.
- INTERNSHIP: If you had up till this time thought internship was a prerogative of the medical profession, you need to revamp your knowledge. It seems virtually all establishments in Nigeria now provide rooms for interns, but it is only a question of whether or not you would get paid in the end. If you’re a medical (pharmacy, medicine, physiotherapy, dentistry etc) intern, you stand to earn a six-figure salary after tax every month. Oil corporations and foreign high commissions are also known for paying interns encouraging sums, what with the benefits/allowances and all. So if you feel like gaining some experience particularly in a field that is not related to your course of study, just search for internship jobs in Nigeria. Many of them only require an undergraduate degree in any field, unless it’s medically-inclined.
- NGO/VOLUNTEER: Some people often mix this up with internship but while there may indeed be some similarities between the two, there are still differences. Most volunteering jobs are related to medical aid (Red Cross, Field worker in areas plagued by insurgency) and community service such as working at a hospice, charity organization or special homes. One thing is for sure, volunteering may come with its many benefits like networking, relatable certificates, free meals and tours, but you should never expect to get paid. It’s why it’s volunteering – no vested interests.
- UTILITY SERVICES: Janitors, drivers, clerks, delivery agents, nannies, security/bodyguard services and all other menial jobs fall under this category. These jobs may sound demeaning to graduates, but there’s nothing dishonorable about them. This is the field in which you’d find the most number of people with no academic qualification from an educational institution. It is true some graduates resort to these jobs as well, but that is talk for another time. You can easily walk up to any organization, tell them which of these services you are willing to render and see how long it would take before you’re employed. My guess is that it won’t be long.
- NURSING: Show me a nurse whose job application was turned down and I will show you an unserious hospital administration. Nurses are arguably the most hardworking and most valuable medical practitioners anywhere in the world, and it is for this reason their services are always required. Whether or not you agree with that statement is talk for another time, you will just hardly come across a nurse who is out of job. It’s either they have just been sacked or are preparing for resumption.
- PHARMACY: Ask yourself; is there any street in the commercial cities in Nigeria where you would not find a pharmacy, be it local or branded? The thing is, running a pharmacy can be strenuous and as an owner, you sure could do with the extra help you can find. Not everybody you see working in a pharmacy is a certified pharmacist or the owner of the pharmacy. There are pharmacy technicians and there are pharmacists. A pharmacist could have an 8 – 4 or 9 – 5 job and still run locum (they sometimes call it part-time) services at other pharmacies. They don’t get paid pittances either, they average no less than 50,000 for offering part-time services. For that amount, working hours would not exceed four hours a day.
- PUBLIC RELATIONS/CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS: This field I understand, is multifaceted, and I do realize its importance to modern establishments in Nigeria. If you need people who would ensure a stable company-client/public relationship is plain-sailing, these are the guys you need. Like I said, they come in different parts, and with numerous job opportunities too.
- MEDICAL DOCTOR: While you may find incredible, the various discouraging statistics of Doctor-Patient ratio released by the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) at different times, you would also agree that the government hospitals in Nigeria are largely devoid of medical doctors. It is presumably the reason why you have to wait in a longer-than-life line before meeting with a medical doctor in a public hospital. Besides, not everybody can afford to visit private hospitals so the government-owned lot are usually the last resort. Just like pharmacists, medical doctors can also render locum services. Actually, it is a trait peculiar to all medical practitioners (pharmacists, medical doctors, radiographers, physiotherapists, nurses, dentists, optometrists and medical laboratory scientists).
- IT SPECIALIST/IT ADMINISTRATOR: Nowadays, the jobs that bear “IT” as prefixes often always appear on every page of most Nigerian job sites. Quite frankly, I don’t entirely know what these guys do, but they have a truckload of opportunities awaiting them in the job market today. So, if whatever you do has some sort of IT stuff attached to it, it’s your lucky time. Search for IT jobs in Nigeria and marvel at what you find.
- ACCOUNTING/AUDITING: Quick question, is there any establishment anywhere in the world that does not have accountants or auditors in its employ? Accounting is not only a vibrant profession, it is reasonably lucrative. Top multinational corporations like PwC, KPMG, Escravos, Shell, Chevron etc now take graduate accountants/auditors in droves and with the emergence of numerous organizations all over the country, accountants may have little to worry about as far as job opportunities are concerned in Nigeria. Worthy of note is how these corporations also accommodate non-accounting majors in their graduate trainee schemes. If you carry out a background check of PwC & KPMG, you would find a good number of individuals whom despite being non-math majors, share one thing in common – proficient math skills.
- SALES REPRESENTATIVE/MARKETING EXECUTIVE: They have the most unstable, volatile and challenging jobs in Nigeria. Also, employers often levy them ridiculously high targets and put them under wanton pressure. If someone gets sacked today, another gets employed tomorrow. It is the same reason why their services are the most sought after in the Nigerian job market. So, if you’re nursing ambitions of being a marketer, you have been warned. Beware! Be aware.
Remember, that these are the fields with the most job opportunities does not mean they are the most lucrative. It only means the individuals who fall in any of these fields, stand a better chance of securing jobs than their colleagues in other professions in Nigeria.
— Adesegun Damazio, Brands Advisor at Zenera Consulting