Graduate Underemployment Challenges and Future Labour Market Uncertainties in Nigeria

  • Osmond Chigozie Federal University
  • Makuachukwu Gabriel Ojide Alex Ekwueme Federal University
  • Stella Ada Mbah Nigeria
Keywords: Graduates’ underemployment; Social Exchange Theory; Remunerations; Nigeria


This study examined the challenges of graduate underemployment and the dynamics of underemployment, as to know the emotional and the social effects of underemployment in Nigeria among graduates. Building on Peter Blua’s Social exchange theory, this study analysed data from 389 respondents randomly drawn from underemployed graduates from different academic levels and qualifications in Nigeria. The results show that underemployment affects graduates of varied social status but particularly those that are between the ages of 21 and 28, the married and those that studied courses in Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts. Remarkably, type of academic qualification, gender and level of education has non-significant impacts in determining the choice of jobs while underemployed graduates are unevenly distributed across different jobs. The level of remunerations either encourages the underemployed to stay in the job or quit their current jobs. Surprisingly and unnaturally, the result shows that the majority of the Bachelor’s Degree holders never had the willingness to leave their underemployed jobs. The study therefore recommends that government and private sector players should improve the remunerations of their employees especially graduates.

Author Biographies

Osmond Chigozie, Federal University

Department of Economics

Makuachukwu Gabriel Ojide, Alex Ekwueme Federal University

Department of Economics and Development Studies

Stella Ada Mbah, Nigeria

Department of Economics


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