Survey reveals Nigerian Graduates are Grossly Underpaid

Study shows Nigerian graduates are under-compensated

A study by Stutern, an online platform that connects interns with employers, has revealed that Nigerian graduates are grossly underpaid by local companies in the country but that’s not all. The report also indicates that graduates from Covenant University are the most employable in Nigeria.

The Nigerian Graduate Report 2016

Graduates getting a raw deal

According to the survey, 75% of new graduates earn less than N50,000 ($125) in their first job. And a deeper look at the number reveals 1 in 4 new graduates earn less than N20,000 ($50) as their first salary in Nigeria.

“Graduate unemployment is a massive waste of resources – 36.26% of our graduates are unemployed. But what could be worse is the under-compensation of talent. It has implications for security, health, and economic growth,” said Kehinde Ayanleye, Stutern’s Co-founder. The employability of Nigerian graduates has always been a prominent theme in entrepreneurial conversations in Nigeria

The employability factor

The report by Stutern finds that graduates from Covenant University are the most employable in Nigeria. A reasonable number of graduates from this university possessed a set of achievements, understanding as well as personal attributes that make them more likely to gain employment and to be successful in their chosen careers.


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Meanwhile, the University of Ilorin ranks as the top University in terms of return on investment to the students. By return on investment here, we mean the difference between the average tuition paid by the graduates while in school and the average salary starting salary upon graduation. This is because the average tuition is affordable while the first salary for graduates from this institution is very attractive.

Graduate jobs across industries

The study also illustrated the spread of first graduate jobs across industries. According to the survey, the education sector absorbs most graduates for their first jobs – a trend that could be a function of the national NYSC program where most graduates are mandated to teach at secondary schools.

Meanwhile, the technology, nonprofit, banking, and finance sectors begin to absorb more graduates as they get their second jobs.

The report also revealed that most graduates affirmed that communication skill and knowledge of the job are the two least skills their academic institution prepared them for.

“It’s part of the problem we try to solve at Stutern,” said Taiwo Ayanleye, Stutern’s Co-founder. “To create the perfect transition for graduates through internships so, at the end of their studies, they have a good knowledge of the job, are confident of how much they are worth and are able to earn justifiable income.“

Below is a sneak preview of the report with the top 10 out of the 20 Universities with the most employable graduates in Nigeria.

Find the report infographic here and view the complete report here.

Stutern is an online platform that connects young talents with employers in Africa for internships and entry-level jobs. You can visit for more information.

The Nigerian Graduate Report 2016 infographics

Website Comments

  1. Sekele

    This report is obviously subjective in many of the aspects mentioned. The only thing I can take from this report is the fact that Nigerian graduates are grossly underpaid.

  2. Stanley Okosun

    seeing that stat of most employment based on universities makes me Wonder is it that the other universities in Nigeria dont produced qualified graduates

  3. Charles Darlington

    The system is so ridiculous on why OND and HND are the least employed..yet to get in terms with the disparity between and HND

  4. Odunayo Sunday

    The OND and HND holders are the ones suffering dis injustice d most.its so sad to hv such certificate and yet suffer like one dat has not pass through higher institution. I feel dey should scrap such institution instead of discriminating.

  5. Richard

    The claim that the employability of a graduate is a function of the university attended is quite subjective and should not be an issue to be placed at the front burner. I think what should be the main focuss is addressing the way graduates are subjected to slavery through the non chanllancy of our govt by both local and foreign based companies especially indian firms. This is the major cause of this under payment issue and its should be addressed.

  6. Aesthetic/Restorative Breast Center

    This is happening all over the world. Graduates have difficulties finding jobs, and when they do, their pay is way lower than expected. This is sometimes even the case of careers that many think are high paying, such as law.

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