An employed graduate in the US (after spending three and a half years in school) earns $15/hr or N2,400/hr. He works for 8hrs a day which gives $120/day or N18,000/day. With a 5-day work week, that translates to $2,400/month or N360,000/month.
In sharp contrast, his Nigerian counterpart (after spending 4+x years in school, where 'x' represents strike, or other factors that causes the school or the entire educational sector to grind to a halt) earns less than a quarter per hour. That is like N600 per hour or N4,800 per day, which translate to N96,000 per month.
It is worthy of note that this is very rare and the pervasive reality is that over 80% of graduates earn less than half of that amount per month, with most of them grateful for having a take-home of between N40,000-N50,000 monthly. The sad truth is that the hourly (perceived) worth of a graduate in this part of the world is between N250-N300 which when converted is between £1 - £1.20 or $1.66 - $2.
These facts lead me to believe that it is not enough to get a certificate, but more importantly-it rests on each of us to find out what we are good at then go in search of individuals or organizations that can benefit from our skills and offer our services. This will put us in good stead when negotiating with prospective employers. This also streamlines where we go and what kind of job we go for.
It is not so much about the job we do as it is about our thinking, are we out to get from our employer or are we out to give value to the same? Desperation always ensures we get less than we are really worth, the deprivation and lack around here has set us up to think survival sub-consciously, and it is a bias we apply to everything we do. This ought not to be.
[Originally written September 2010]