EMPLOYNOMICS: Here I come for the World’s Unemployed (1)
- By Yusuf Yahaya O. (MNIMechE, MNATE, MCIDS)
Unemployment is a condition of idleness of wage earners who are able and willing to work but cannot find jobs. The rising incidence of unemployment around the world and with the challenges in societies in which most people can earn a living only by working for others, being unable to find a job is a serious problem. The proportion of workers unemployed also shows how well a nation’s human resources are used and serves as an index of economic activity. The surge in self-employment since the 2000 recession has largely gone unnoticed by policymakers. Yet there is now one self-employed worker for every three wage and salaried workers in rural areas and urban areas are not far behind. If current trends continue over the next decade, every third worker will be self employed or the proprietor of his or her own business. This in turn has profound implications for the economy, and for economic policymakers, that are not well understood. Even as self-employment, micro-small-medium enterprises (MSME) continues to increase, many policymakers and persons in position of leadership and authority on behalf of the majority remain largely unaware of this trend and fail to see it as an opportunity for addressing enduring joblessness. In part, this is explained by limited data on the self-employed and by widespread perceptions that returns to self-employment and MSME are low. Contrary to these perceptions, recent studies suggest that self-employment as well as micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSME) with jobs creation drives has tangible positive economic impacts not only on wage and salary employment but also on per capita income growth and poverty reduction. This article synthesizes the concept of employnomics as one pertinent emerging literature and assesses the dynamics of the opportunities inherent in self-employment, entrepreneurship, and wealth creation in meeting to the challenges of shocks and unintended consequences of unemployment. Despite these shortcomings, employnomics provides us with a window to studying the phenomenon of jobs creation ventures and self-employment in relations to its impact on people and societies. In and around the world with the exception of China, India, Brazil, and Malaysia, however, this type of employment driven approach has not attracted much attention, primarily because it is viewed as small-scale and low-paying. Hence the need to explore employnomics as a momentous interventionist employment generation and wealth creation drive to addressing rising case of unemployment.
Etymology of Employnomics: The term employnomics is coined and comes from two distinctive words employment and economics. As for “employment” – work-related, job-related, professional, industrial, working, business oriented activities where one or more persons are hired to exchange labour for labour wages, and combined with “economics” – a social science concerned with the production, distribution, exchange, and consumption of goods and services. Economists focus on the way in which individuals, groups, business enterprises, and governments seek to achieve efficiently any economic objective they select. Employnomics as word is actually new and does not exist in any vocabulary before now. The idea came into being in 2014 while debating on the economics of Nigeria’s acclaimed status of being the largest economy in Africa in my article titled “Africa’s ‘Impressive Economic Growth’ Paradox” where I opined that “It’s pertinent to note here quickly that that the sustained economic growth has not generated sufficient economic diversifications, jobs growth or socio-economic development to create productive wealth and lift millions of Africans out of poverty and unemployment”, even though at the same time Nigeria parades the highest population of youth unemployment in Africa.
Importantly the case of youth unemployment especially in Africa and other third world countries is alarming. This brief article on employnomics provides a brief understanding of unemployment and youth unemployment so that policymakers, decision makers, legislators, as well as people in governance and leadership positions can begin to develop and enact smart, targeted policy interventions to put these young people and the unemployed back to work and address the youth-unemployment crisis head on through self-employment ventures, commercial entrepreneurship, micro, small and medium enterprises where the driving undertone is job creation and wealth creation. We have long argued that policymakers must do more to create jobs and hasten the pace of our economic recovery. Our continent needs broad-based job-creation measures, but targeted policies to address youth unemployment are especially crucial. Due to the severity and long-term economic costs of high youth unemployment, the African continent cannot afford to let an entire generation of young people lose out on the earnings, wealth building, experience, and skills development that come from working.
The Impact of Unemployment in Africa
“Africa’s pressing challenge now more than ever before is its progressive economic growth without jobs. According to the African Development Bank: Every year 10-12 million young people enter the labor market in Africa; By 2040, Africa will have the largest workforce in the world, surpassing China and India; Young people account for 60 percent of the unemployed; Africa is the second most inequitable regions in the world. An alarming illustration of the situation of unemployment around world is worrisome, but a quick situation analysis of youth unemployment will suffice for this discourse”.
“There is another reason to pay more attention to Africa’s youth, many analysts believe. With 200 million people aged between 15 and 24 (the youth bracket), Africa has the youngest population in the world. The current trend indicates that this figure will double by 2045, according to the 2012 (African Economic Outlook) report prepared by experts from the African Development Bank (AfDB), the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the industrialized countries’ Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), among others”.
The story of Africa’s worrisome youth unemployment is often told alongside the story of the continent’s fast and steady economic growth. While six of the 10 fastest-growing economies in the world are in sub-Saharan Africa, the unemployment rate for that region is 6%, according to the AfDB. Compared to the world average of about 5%, its rate may not seem that high. But the problem is that in most African countries, youth unemployment “occurs at a rate more than twice that for adults,” notes the AfDB”. This acclaimed growth is growth without jobs.
“According to the World Bank, youth account for 60% of all African unemployed. In North Africa, the youth unemployment rate is an eyebrow-raising 30%. It is even worse in Botswana, the Republic of the Congo, Senegal, South Africa and several other countries. As successive editions of the African Economic Outlook have shown, Africa’s rate of growth has outperformed the global rate over the last decade. Yet high growth is not sufficient to guarantee productive employment for all. Large sections of the population, and particularly the young, can be left behind and become frustrated”.
I argued in another of my writing titled “Africa Veiled by Inferiority Complex & Intellectual Laziness” where I posited while having couple of discussions with Africans who have extended tours in China for business on the rising level of unemployment in Africa and it attendant consequences. They told me “we don’t think we interacted with any college graduate, except maybe at the banks. Yet we were all over the place scouting for materials and products made by technically skilled persons in crude village settings for exports. We did not see those bogus lifestyle and display of pseudo affluence, for which we are noted”.
Therefore, the challenges of rising unemployment particularly youth employment in and around the world calls for concern and employnomics is the way to go. Employnomics is simply the scientific planning and technical empowerment of citizens into becoming agents of employment generation and wealth creation shrouded within the context of employment economics. The proposition of Employnomics is factual/analytical, relevant, and convincing when measured proportionally in relations to unintended consequences of unemployment. Employnomics simply described as all the processes in human economic activities of creating employment, empowering people to become self-employed, entrepreneurs/employers of labour with parameters of determining and measuring possible socio-economic innovations which could ultimately lead to employment generation and wealth creation within the context of social innovations/entrepreneurship. Employnomics of people and population in relations to unemployment, self-employment and entrepreneurship as an entire set of basics from which data can be selected, measured and calculated. Examples:
- When we decide to measure the number of able bodied unemployed persons
- When we want to study the population enmeshed in the web of unemployed in relations to possible and prospective opportunities to be turned into jobs creators and wealth creators.
- Sample of every person in Nigeria that is capable of exchanging labour for wages
- Sample of every possible entrepreneur in Nigeria capable of creating employment for an average of at least 2-4 persons
Empirically, employnomics is given as:
En = Employnomics harmonizing self employment, entrepreneurship/jobs created, and value-added wealth creation.
Sw = Self-employed earnings/wage
∑?w = Summation of the total number of employees wages engaged in an entrepreneurial venture at a defined period.
Note: ?w = ?1 + ?2 + ?3 + ?4 + ?s +. . .
Ct = Total cost incurred throughout productivity within a defined period.
Note: Ct = Ci – Tx (non-taxable) and Ct = Ci + Tx (taxable)
Wc = Total wealth created/generated at a defined period.
When calculating the level of employnomics with cognizance to self-employment with tax applicable or not, empirically it is given as:
Ultimately, when self-employment is excluded from the measurement, i.e. Sw = 0 Therefore, entrepreneurial venture ?w engaging two (2) or more employees with tax applicable is mathematically given as:
What this research study tries to accomplish apart from bringing to the fore the need for employnomics by making government responsive in facilitating the process of skillfully empowering people and providing startups for them into becoming self-employed, or entrepreneurs and as well create wealth. With this formulation, one can actually calculate and get the total measure of people that are employed/hired/engaged which helps in data analysis for development planning and resource allocation.
The general empirical for measuring the total number of persons engaged/hired/employed by more than one entrepreneurial venture also calculates the total wealth created (liquid-cash & asset-property) by these ventures within a defined period is hereby given as:
In the subsequent series to this write-up on employnomics, we shall be looking other ingredients like necessity, opportunity, humanitarianism, and independence of stake within the context of employnomics. Conclusively, an academic and business mogul Prof Pat Utomi wonders why Nigeria the largest African economy experiences rising rate of unemployment despite its rating as one of the fastest growing economies in the world. The situation is no different in the other 6 countries listed in Africa as one of the 10 fastest growing economies in the world. The world is experience one of the worst cases of unemployment the world has ever seen and the continent of Africa has one of the worst youth-unemployment problems in the world. “Every year, it is estimated that over 500,000 graduates from colleges/universities leave school with little prospects of finding employment. The chances of getting any work in the first five years after leaving school are very slim. Given the dangerously high unemployment levels as well as skills shortages faced by employers cutting across almost all the countries in Africa, there is an urgent need for wider access to programmes that train youth in social entrepreneurship, as well as technical and vocational skills that will help them find jobs”.
At this juncture, it is hoped that critical reflections on the concepts, issues and methods that are important for facilitating and bringing to fruition the concept of employnomics in relation to its determinant factors of NECESSITY, OPPORTUNITY, HUMANITARIANISM, AND INDEPENDENCE OF COMMERCIAL VENTURE integrating self-employment, entrepreneurship, and wealth creation as the targets while providing the unemployed with skills, startups, and hope of employment. My research findings, postulates, and views may lack the proficiency of the highest expectation, but for Employnomics – my message to Africa, Africans and humanity is “Ensure Community Solutions to Community Problems through Community Actions for Community Development”.
Yusuf Yahaya –Is Snr. Broadcast Engineer (Nigerian Television Authority), Nat. Resource Person @ MDGs/SDGs/NYSC Advocacy Program (Presidency-Nigeria) and Research-assistant/Student @ Estam University-Republic-of-Benin (Dept. of Mechanical Engineering & Computer-Integrated Manufacturing. email@example.com