The Nigerian labour market is a certificate asking one. It is the qualification you possess that will give you the job you want. This is why people strive hard to acquire the certificate that will put meal on their table, shelter them and give them a good lease of life.
Every year Nigerian Universities, polytechnics, colleges of education, etc turn out many graduates into the labour market. The labour market became saturated as few industries in the Nigerian economy are thriving and fewer labour are absolved by the existing companies or industries. When fewer and fewer companies are employing labour, these few good companies request for all sorts of qualification and job criteria from prospective job seekers to reduce the number of applicants that will apply for a job. For instance a job advert requesting applicant of not more than 22 years old as at the last birthday in addition to having a BSC with 2 to 3 years work experience. So when did the applicant they are looking for graduated from school? At 19 or 20 when many are still battling with ssce and some with JAMB? Sometimes some organisations put up none existing vacancies for different reasons.
The BSC/HND dichotomy has been an age long issue. So as part of employers drive to weed off certain applicant, many, especially in the thriving industries in Nigeria shut their doors against HND holders. Where the door is not shut against HND holders, some companies employ them for lesser or more tedious job than they give to Bsc holders. Though there are companies in certain industries that actually prefer HND holders in certain technical and professional fields to BSC holders but they are very few.
It takes 4 to 5 years averagely to acquire a Bsc in any Nigerian University, same time it takes to graduate from the Polytechnics too. In most Polytechnics, especially the Federal government owned ones, most Polytechnic lecturers are University graduates with a minimum of Msc qualification. The Polytechnic syllabus and indeed the system is more rigorous than the University system. So why the discrimination in the labour market? This is why the frustration of jobless HND holders are understandable. The discrimination against HND is even encouraged by the Federal government who classified HND holders as technical officers below University graduates even in the civil service hierarchy. The original plan as contained in the law that established Polytechnics is that Polytechnics will provide manpower for technical courses, it was as a result of explosion in the number of applicants to Universities that made the Polytechnic regulatory body, the National Board for Technical education (NBTE) to approve other non technical courses for Polytechnics. It was late President Yar’ Adua that lately gave more cadre promotion to HND holders in the civil service.
So, if you are an HND holder, my advise to you are the following ;
- Don’t get frustrated at all. You are not inferior to any University graduate.
- Don’t build a ‘’mansion’’ on your HND. You need to add relevant qualifications (both academic and professional) for you to fly.
- When you have opportunity for test or interview, prove your worth and your value. This was what a guy did some years ago that made an oil company change their mind- to include HND as acceptable entry qualification, soon other oil companies followed suit.
There is intense competition in the labour market and everybody must ‘’fight’’ for his her place to have a ‘’jersey’’ to play in any company ‘’team’’. Put in your very best, until your best is good enough to take you to the promise land. Believe it, your promise land is very close! Work towards it daily don’t be afraid of the giants you see. This is what has helped many HND holders in the Nigerian labour market, military, civil service etc such as the former foundational MD of Guaranty Trust Bank, Mr Fola Adeola, Late Augustus Aikhomu, my bossom friend Uche Ogbonna, a senior Manager with Unilver and a host of others including myself.
Till I come your way again, I wish you the very best!