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They stuck it out during the #ENDSARS protest of 2020.
Then they endured nearly eight years of economic hardship and insecurity.
But this year, they say they’ve had enough.
This is the case for many Nigerian youths leaving the country in droves in 2022 — not because they want to, but because bad leadership, socio-economic issues, inflation and lack of opportunities are pushing them to leave.
Suddenly, lifestyle blogs and social media posts, once dominated by topics about the country’s best sites to visit, foods to try, etc., are focusing on travelling to-do lists and guides.
According to reports, a surge in departures is accelerating a “brain drain” of professional talent — a situation which will hit a fever pitch in the coming months as foreign schools resume academic activities in Q3 2022.
The trigger – echoed by numerous people – is that there is no hope for Nigeria. Life is already difficult for many to see their way out of poverty. And when you add socio-economic issues like police harassment and exploitation by SARS, and EFCC, they become desperate to “JAPA”.
While Nigeria has an incredibly creative, motivated, and resourceful young population, a continuous emigration of professionals is thought to impede its long-term economic growth. Each year, millions of highly qualified medical doctors, engineers and bankers are said to move abroad, the most visible effect being an overall loss of skilled human resources.
Despite this, many experts believe that the export of human resources has inadvertently “become a money-making machine for underdeveloped countries. This is particularly the case with remittances, which have always been the much-needed financial lifeline to low-income countries in Africa.
Last year, remittance inflows to Sub-Saharan African countries rose by 14.1 per cent to $49 billion, according to World Bank. Over the years, Nigeria has received the largest portion of total remittance inflows into Sub-Saharan Africa, and this is due to the significantly sizable diaspora base.
While a brain drain is beneficial, the mass resignation of skilled labour forces across the country for greener pasture abroad is threatening the development of society and the country as a whole.
According to the survey of HR operators conducted by Nairametrics, the sales and marketing department of many Nigerian companies recorded the highest number of resignations in July, followed by employees in the core operations section of the business.
Another survey conducted by LEADERSHIP NG found that the resignation has affected the banking industry the most, such that it came up as an issue for discussion at the Bankers’ Committee meeting held in April this year.
Below are the findings from the report by LEADERSHIP NG:
“It was learnt that about 500 software engineers have, since the beginning of this year, till now, secured better offers abroad, majorly in Canada and European countries where the emolument far outweighs what they are being paid in the Nigerian banking sector as they are paid in foreign currency at a time the nation’s Naira has seriously depreciated.”
“Aside from these 500 engineers, about 1,000 other staff have so far resigned their appointments in deposit money banks to pick up juicy offers abroad, even as there are indications that more engineers and bank staff will also join them in the months ahead as the nation’s economy becomes harsher and the operating environment becomes unbearable.”
“For the Information and Communication sector, the story is not so different as many tech developers are either leaving Nigeria in search of ICT job that pays better or working remotely.”
The World Economic Forum (WEF) has advised companies to tailor their workforce strategy to the unique needs of their workers” if they are to succeed in today’s challenging environments.
According to a report by Harvard Business Review, Employers need to recognise that it takes significantly longer to recruit someone than it does for them to give their two-week notice and depart. The solution, then, is to bolster retention while ramping up recruiting immediately. To do so, companies need to get on the same page with employees by reconceptualizing what it means to be part of their organization.
The government should also focus on adopting policies that promote circular and return migration, like policies that would welcome professionals to return home after the completion of their training or studies.
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