Finding a job in Nigeria as a foreign-trained-graduate

How easy or difficult is it?

From the stories told in the past, foreign-trained graduates who returned to Nigeria or to their home countries were absolutely considered experts and were offered better job opportunities in high paying jobs, government establishments, or in private companies. It was never a hurdle finding a job in Nigeria as a foreign-trained graduate within the years 1970’s, 1980’s, and in the 1990s. That was when ”he that the cap fits truly wears it’. Impartiality in job offers was upheld and exercised in all fairness by the Nigerian Civil Service Commission and private companies. Tribalism and favoritism were yet to circulate and run through the veins of our leaders and employers.

How difficult it is finding a job in Nigeria as a foreign-trained graduate?

I’ll be relating this to my personal experience since I was trained in the UK and I came back to Nigeria in 2013. I had first-hand experiences running around finding a job as a foreign-trained graduate. it wasn’t a funny experience to write home about.

The competition in the Nigerian labor market is generally high. The home-trained and foreign-trained graduates alike are finding it difficult getting jobs in Nigeria. Days are gone when they consider the standard of the school you graduated from or the grade you made. Presently finding a job in Nigeria as a foreign-trained graduate can be totally daunting. You are considered not different from the home-trained graduates, therefore, you will have to go through the same rigorous processes every job seeker experiences unless otherwise.

My first experience-finding a job in Nigeria as a foreign-trained graduate

When I returned home in 2013, I went job hunting in one of the foreign companies in Lagos Island. The interview processes including a written and one-on-one chat with the MD lasted over a month. So when they presented me with the appointment letter, I looked at the content of the salary offer, the allowances (transport, feeding, HMO), and others summed up to a total of 50,000 naira, which is currently about a hundred pound. I felt really terrible considering the amount I had usually made just on a day shift in the UK.

I recalled that then in the UK, I worked as a student and as a student in the UK you are entitled to only 20 hours of work in a week. So when I worked for about 8 to 10 hours a day I earned about 25,000 nairas. Understand me in those days British pound was only a pound to 250 (two hundred and fifty nairas). Currently, a pound is almost 500 (five hundred nairas). I earned 25k just on a day that I worked probably for about 8 to 9hours.

Okay, looking at the content of my pay offer and it read, 50,000 (fifty thousand nairas) for 30 good days (1month) honestly, that was really disturbing! I calculated the transport fare from Mainland to Lagos Island. Then I was staying in Festac Town, it amounted to 1,200 nairas. So by the end of the month, I should be spending around 25,000 (twenty-five thousand nairas) on transportation alone out of the 50k salary. At the end of the day, it will seem like a total selfless work! So I came home totally disappointed and empty! My husband didn’t really find that funny too. He was expecting some reasonable amount of offer because like many out there, we both had the mentality that foreign-trained graduates were hotcakes LOL!

Though of truth, we never had a plan of spending more than six months in Nigeria because we had a plan to return abroad soon after our marriage. However, you can hardly predict the future. I looked for jobs in several other places, some of them got intimidated by my degree abroad. You can even ring someone to say please can you refer me to any company?. I recalled I spoke to one of the doctors for help, He simply said with this your qualification there’s nothing I can do for you, somebody I’ll be presenting it to would even be afraid to offer you a job they might think that you want to take their positions”.

My second experience-finding a job in Nigeria as a foreign-trained graduate

I would rather suggest foreign-trained graduates staying back abroad if they find opportunities over there rather than coming home to find jobs. Honestly, some questions you got asked at the interviews would make you regret coming home.

My second job hunting experience was more terrifying. This time, it’s a call center job in one of the communication industries in Nigeria. After I was successful in the written test, I went for a one-on-one interview where I faced a panel of four admins-the HR was one of them. From his accent you wouldn’t need to ask if he comes from the west, though, it was in Lagos, state Nigeria.

I wouldn’t just say if the HR had issues with my presence or my CV because he was honestly antagonistic in his questions. ‘I have seen your CV, so you studied in Nigeria, as if that wasn’t enough for you, you still traveled to the UK to study? Now, you want me to employ you in this company so that tomorrow you will unseat me!’. Those were his exact words. At the end of that panel, one of them approached me outside encouraging me not to worry much about what the HR said to me that I did very well in their oral interview. As they said, they were going to contact me. That was in 2014 I waited up till this time and no mails of any kind from them. You know in Nigeria they have the habit of when you come for an interview they wouldn’t write you back to tell you if you’re successful or not. I talked about some of these negative attitudes of Nigerian employers in two of my videos on my youtube channel. Here are links to message to Nigerian employers part1 and message to Nigerian employers part2 You might like to see the videos.

However, I continued my life thinking of what to do. I thought of establishing a school in Nigeria because I have this idea and interest in education but running a school in Nigeria would be very tasking. I considered the fact that establishing something like a school in Nigeria needs my presence to run it properly because if I hand it over to people they might mismanage it.

I would like to advise that it is not easy for a foreign-trained graduate to find a job in Nigeria. Therefore if you are trained abroad think of something to establish on your own especially when you did not study something related to health even those who studied health-related courses tend to stay back abroad and practice which is perfect! Perchance you found yourself in Nigeria, think of what to establish. If you could afford the fees for an oversea education, you can certainly put resources together and start-up something reasonable rather than looking for a less than a 100k monthly pay job.

My third horrible experience-finding a job in Nigeria as a foreign-trained graduate

Finding a job in Nigeria as a foreign-trained-graduate

When I got tired of waiting and expecting, my plans for traveling back abroad were not forthcoming. I decided to look for a job in one of the schools within my area. It’s a big modern school, I recalled I dropped my CV in that particular School in 2017, they did not invite me over for an interview.

So when I enrolled my child in the kindergarten section of the same school, I decided to talk to their headmistress who happened to be of the same tribe as me. I was like, I want to work in your school Ma. She looked at me and didn’t believe me. Okay, the second day again, I dropped my child and walked into her office to convince her about how much I would love to work in their school and would be glad to find a place. She pointed at my car outside because I had always dropped my child off the school in a Honda Pilot Jeep. She was actually considering my class and asked how could I ever think of coming to work in their school? I simply said I need this job please Ma. Okay, can I volunteer, please? once I said volunteer she then believed me and asked me to bring my CV the next morning.

My application was trashed because I studied in the UK

So, the next day I brought my CV, dropped it with the headmistress. She flashed through it but couldn’t help screaming, oh my God! You studied abroad and you want to work here? How can our school provide your payment?. I was smiling all through. She took my CV to the secondary section handed it over to the HR who was also the school principal. He’s from the West too. According to the Headmistress, the principal looked at the CV and said wow! ”I have seen this CV last year and I trashed it”. Then she was like, why did you trash it? he said because ”I don’t want someone to take over my position from me, the CV is too rich. How could she study abroad and wants to work here?”. I was shocked but I told the Headmistress, please Ma, I am not after the money, like I told you I don’t even mind volunteering, whatever they can offer me, no bargains! That was how she went back and spoke to this HR who later invited me over for an interview. Lastly, I got the job.

When I met with the school owner, a Yoruba lady in her 60’s. She has also trained abroad because we had a great informal chat before the official talk about my monthly pay offer. When I mentioned the amount I would want to be paid, she said that’s okay! They said your interview session was very nice, ”thank you Ma”, I responded. That was because I was taken on a class interview unprepared for the children in JSS3 class honestly, that was amazing! They all loved it! ‘‘You know what, just work for us, after one month I’m going to increase your salary”, the proprietress assured me. I was excited that at least I’d be leaving the house at the same time with my boy and return home the same too.

Unfortunately, I only worked there just for two days and my husband called that I should start preparing to come over abroad. I was sad and worried at the short time notice and preparations. A lot of the documentations especially medicals has to be done in Abuja. I couldn’t just help the thoughts of making up excuses for a job that I just resumed. You know what? I simply quit! At least the Principal would be glad that I wouldn’t be there any longer to take over his position LOL!

Foreign-trained graduates can easily find jobs in Nigeria

Now, here is the message I’m trying to pass across sharing my daunting job hunting experiences in Nigeria with you as a foreign-trained graduate. Sometimes the inability to find the right job suitable for one’s qualifications has led so many young people and graduates regret going to university. You can read more in this article- why people regret going to university and how to avoid this regret Before you consider coming to Nigeria to find a job, ensure you have taken these factors into consideration.

Social Connection

If you are a foreign-trained graduate or you are currently training abroad and you have the intention of coming back to Nigeria to find a job, ensure you have a social network of professional connections. This would help you a lot. Have some connections who can put you through, who can refer you for employment. Establish a good relationship with your old friends who are already working in Nigeria.

Salary Offer

Surely, employers must shock you with the contents of their pay offers. Firstly study the company and know their possible start-up salary rates for their new intakes. Simply come down to the level of what is obtainable within our country in terms of paychecks because if you continue converting whatever they promise to pay you or whatever began they put before you as salary to foreign currencies honestly, you won’t be able to work in our country because as you are living or saying no to the salary offer, another person is taking up that job with happiness especially those who studied at home. So please, consider all these first before coming home. Here is a video on my personal experiences about job hunting in Nigeria as a foreign-trained graduate. My application was trashed because I studied in the UK

These days people who studied in the UK are mostly our politicians’ children. They know they already have ”Abrahams as fathers” back home. Once they come home the jobs are already there waiting for them. Their parents have already prepared places for them but if you are like me, you don’t have any professional connections, you can’t bribe your way through or that you can’t even lie low as to offer your body in an exchange for a job position because I encountered that twice too. Ensure you learn to blend, adapt and accept what is on the ground in terms of salary. You can build your experience from one job to the other, you might get something better or you can build on your skills and establish something on your own.


Igho Ekiugbo · October 6, 2019 at 2:24 pm

Chinyere, great work. I’m super impress.

    chifrane · October 7, 2019 at 3:51 pm

    Thanks so much, Ekiugbo. Experience teaches one better. Who hasn’t been home for a job hunt wouldn’t understand all that it takes.
    I sincerely appreciate your comment.

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