Today in Nigeria, many university graduates complain of high levels of unemployment and prospects for employment have worsened over time. Despite some progress made in extending access to higher education for various groups of Nigerians seeking university education, however, the percentage of graduate unemployment has assumed alarming proportions especially for graduates of science and technology. Does the education they receive not in consonance with today’s skill requirements in the labour market or is the curriculum used in the higher institutions too outdated? The public and the press hotly debate these questions, as the questions remain very relevant to both graduates who are seeking employment and also to employers who also consider employing them. Many employers of labour usually complain that graduates are poorly prepared for work. They believe that academic standards have fallen considerably over the past decade and that a university degree is no longer a guarantee of communication skills or technical competence. As a result, university graduates are commonly viewed as “half baked.” What is the real situation? Is science graduates unemployment a serious problem? How do employers assess the qualifications of current degree-holders? How well do graduates perform when they are able to obtain employment? These concerns have prompted the present study. It seeks to answer these and other questions regarding the levels of graduate preparedness for productive employment. This study was a survey conducted in June 2007. It was based on an analysis of questionnaire distributed to managers from some public enterprises, private firms, professional associations and non-governmental organizations, the education sector and also to science graduate employees of the various establishments. The analysis of the result of the survey shows a mismatch between university outputs and labour market demands.
Key words: University graduates, graduate unemployment, science and technology, public enterprises, private firms, qualifications, communication, labour market.
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