Senate Should Pass A Bill To Stop Employment Age Discrimination. What happens to the youths above 30 years? Are they not Nigerians? Who should provide jobs for them? Considering the struggle and delay that Nigerian Youths go through to have a university education coupled with incessant strikes, there should be NO age barrier to job employment. If FG jobs can peg age limit at 30, why should we still allow politicians to contest at age above 60 years? Check FRSC, Nigeria Prison Service, Police recruitment and the likes, the maximum age limit is between 28-30 years.
Job seekers are confronted with many barriers. Of all the problems, age appears to take the lead. Even when the applicant is qualified for the job, his age can be an obstacle, writes MUYIWA LUCAS.
THE number of the country’s unemployed youths may continue to grow in leaps and bounds. This is because of a seeming clog employers have placed in the way of job seekers. Presently, not only must a job seeker graduate with very high grades, his age at the time of seeking employment has now become as equally important as his good grades.
At business districts, they are noticeable as they comb the streets in a well dressed suit, moving from offices to offices to submit job applications but during the short-listing; most companies dump their applications despite their impressive CV.
Hakeem Akintunde used to be a victim of age barrier in the labour market but the US visa lottery which he won in 2013 helped him out of the quagmire. He finished his degree at the age of 28 but most of the jobs he applied for turned him down because he did not qualify for age benchmark of 25 at a new generation bank among several others.
He is not alone. Uche Chiwendu finished her degree at the age of 26 from University of Port Harcourt with 2.1 grade in Accounting. She applied for a job at a leading auditing firm in Lagos. She was called for interview but at the final stage of the interview which she passed, the head of the interview team praised her for displaying excellence performance. She was however told that part of the company policy is that any candidate at the entry level should not be more than 23yrs. Chiwendu almost collapsed.
Sometimes in 2013, Tue July 2, KPMG International, a global network of professional services firms providing Audit, Tax and Advisory services advertised job vacancy for graduate trainee copied on www. with job reference number J2013. With 100 slots available in Lagos, the company requested that interested candidates should posses’ first class or second class (Upper) in any discipline, five O’level credits (including English & Math) at one sitting with an age ceaveat: “Not more than 26 years.”
Age discrimination in employment has become a major problem facing graduates and non-graduates in Nigeria. It has continued to enhance the unemployment situation in the country. Take a look at vacancy adverts in Nigeria and you will see how they are equipped with age restrictions and sometime certificate barriers. A typical example reads, “Candidate must not be more than 25 years of age, must possess a good university degree with a second class honours (Upper division). Candidate must have at least 10 to 15 years of experience”. Emphasis hardly placed on competence.
Sadly, a practice which was mainly associated with the banking industry has spread to other sectors. Today, government institutions Champion this course. Even foreign companies indulge in the practice when they do not have similar conditions in their own countries.
President General of Trade Union Congress (TUC) Comrade Bobooi Bala described age barrier in employment requirement as an unwholesome development.
“In other parts of the world, employers look at your competence. They never bother with your age as long as you can do the work efficiently. In the US, you see people still getting new jobs at 50; people are still working at 60 years. There is another thing they do here. They ask for seven, eight years experience. Can anybody acquire experience without first getting a job? It is really sad. People are taking advantage of the unemployment situation.”
Akintunde Ojo, a businessman, said employers are not inserting the age clause to prevent any class of people from getting employed. They are just looking for the best in terms of efficiency and disposition.
“You know the older you are, the tendency for you to be slowed down by age. I also tried in vain to get paid employment. My inability to get a job after six years of leaving the university, made me go into auto spares business.”
He, however, added that not everyone would be able to raise capital from family members like he did. He appealed to employers to consider the state of the nation and try to remove the age clause from vacancy adverts.
Comrade Lateef Oyelekan, President, National Union of Food Beverage and Tobacco Employees (NUFBTE), appealed to employers to remove the age clause, and consider competence instead of insisting on employing people within a certain age bracket only. He said they should also consider experience in their search for workers as experience goes hand in hand with age.
“Many people are frustrated, not because they cannot acquire the necessary qualification needed to secure employment, but because employers make them feel rejected. Many have lost hope.
“Employers should consider older citizens who have the required qualification for jobs,” he said.
The National Assemby has made efforts in the past to ensure that employers at all levels remove age barrier clause in their employment criteria. An Act to prohibit age discrimination in employment in the public and private Sectors in Nigeria sponsored by Hon. Hassan El-Badawywas debated but nothing has come out of the assembly.
With age discrimination in the labour market, a job recruitment expert, Mr. Michael Omole, said most Nigerians studying part time programmes without being engaged in a job already might not have a company to employ them as a result of age barrier which prevented them from going to school on time. He said government should enact the bill on age discrimination in other to make companies stop this act.