Wage employment among men in Nigeria crashed by 39% in 11 years

by jaclynknutson1

World Bank to restructure $200 million project in Nigeria over poor  performance 

The percentage of men with wage or salary paying jobs have declined in 11 years, according to a brief on gender landscape in Nigeria by the World Bank.

A noteworthy decline of 39% (9.1%-points) characterizes the landscape of wage and salaried employment for men, with a sharp decrease from 23.2% in 2011 to 14.1% in 2022.

This trend not only highlights a significant move away from formal employment for men but also places Nigeria below the averages for Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) at 25.9%, low middle income (LMC) at 34.9%, and the world at 51.3%.

Women, on the other hand, saw a slight increase in their engagement in wage and salaried work, edging up from 13.9% to 14.2%. While this uptick is marginal, it demonstrates resilience and potential for growth in women’s formal employment, despite the overall downward trend in male wage employment.

Employment in the agricultural sector

The agricultural sector also shows gender-specific shifts. Women’s employment in agriculture decreased from 32.3% in 2011 to 28.9% in 2022, suggesting a possible move towards other sectors or an exit from the labour force altogether. Men saw a decline from 47.9% to 44.9%, aligning with the broader transition in the Nigerian economy away from agriculture.

Trends in labour force participation

The labour force participation rates for both men and women in Nigeria have seen contrasting trajectories over the last eleven years. Men experienced an increase from 64.1% in 2011 to 65.8% in 2022.

In contrast, women’s participation experienced a decline, albeit modest, dropping from 56.8% to 52.0% within the same period. Despite this decrease, women’s participation remains above the Sub-Saharan African average, indicating a relatively higher engagement of Nigerian women in the labour market compared to their regional counterparts.

What You Should Know

  • The dissonance in Nigeria’s labour market is evident: while more men are participating in the labour force, fewer are capturing wage and salaried positions. The increase in labour force participation without a corresponding rise in formal employment opportunities suggests that men are increasingly relegated to informal or unstable jobs. This shift has significant implications for economic stability and household income, particularly in an environment where wage and salaried positions are associated with security and benefits.
  • Women’s marginally increasing role in wage employment is a positive sign but must be seen in the context of a decreasing labour force participation rate. Initiatives aimed at supporting women to stay in or re-enter the workforce, alongside programs to transition agricultural workers into other sectors, could provide avenues for sustained economic growth and gender parity.
  • Nairametrics earlier reported that about 87% of Nigerians within the working age bracket, who do not have traditional salaried positions, have ventured into self-employment as of the third quarter of 2023. It was also disclosed that self-employment is notably more prevalent among women than men, shedding light on the gender dynamics within the Nigerian labor market. This distinction underscores the pivotal role of women in the entrepreneurial fabric of the nation, often navigating the economic terrain through self-initiated ventures.
  • Nigeria’s unemployment rate witnessed a slight uptick in the third quarter of 2023, moving from 4.2% to 5%. This change represents a modest increase of 0.8% compared to the second quarter, signalling subtle shifts in the nation’s employment dynamics.
  • Also, there is the escalating issue of rural unemployment, which has been exacerbated by insecurity issues plaguing farming regions across the country.
  • The disruption in these agricultural heartlands not only affects food production and local economies but also significantly impacts employment opportunities for rural populations.
  • As insecurity detaches individuals from their primary source of livelihood, the ripple effects extend beyond immediate economic losses to long-term employment and social stability concerns.

Sami Tunji


Sami Tunji

Sami Tunji is a writer, financial analyst, researcher, and literary enthusiast. Aside from having expertise in various forms of writing (creative, research, and business writing), he is passionate about socio-economic research, financial literacy, and human development. Currently, he is a financial analyst at Nairametrics and an African Liberty Writing Fellow 2023/2024.

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