Chief Executive Officer of General Electric in Nigeria and Chair of the American Business Council, Mr. Lazarus Angbazo revealed that there are less skilled engineering talents in Nigeria than the number of job opportunities available, according to an internal talent survey commissioned by his organisation.
He disclosed this during the African Business Conference Plus 2018 event at the Lagos Business School.
Why it matters
Per the GE Nigeria study, 4,600 engineering talents were available in the Nigerian market with over 14,000 opportunities available. Coming from one of the world’s most reputable firms and employers, this report should be taken seriously.
In our opinion, this can only mean one of two things:
One – There is insufficient interest in undergraduate Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths courses among Nigerian school leavers. Another Technology company, the payments leader, Interswitch launched a programme to revive STEM courses based on its research findings on the declining interest of young Nigerians in taking those courses.
Two – The educational opportunities for STEM courses are limited, thus making it hard for many students to gain training in the field. “Innovation is indispensable for solving Africa’s challenges. Greater technical training is required for scalable and efficient solutions for the next generation,“ Angbazo said. He disclosed that US companies in Nigeria are committed to assisting in developing Nigeria’s human potentials. He revealed that there has been a 370% increase in the investments on training from about N340 million spent in 2016.
Bottomline: Policy makers should turn their attention to advancing Technical and Vocational Education (TVET) programmes as one of the immediate measures to plug this massive talent gap. Corporate philanthropy should also be channeled towards causes that can help to develop talent or promote appreciation for STEM-ers.
Nigeria, with its booming population can only be competitive if it invests in its human capital potentials and this study just shows that it has quite a long way to go.