Unemployment: A Call and Opportunity for Business Growth

newspaper article headlines - jobless figures hit record high

Unemployment is a term often used to refer to individuals who are employable and actively seeking a job but are unable to find an appropriate job usually measured by the unemployment rate. The unemployment rate is one of the key indicators of a country’s economic status.  

Unemployment numbers can be viewed from two perspectives:  

  • As representing the latent capacity or potential for growth. Imagine if all unemployed people are gainfully employed and productive – the economic output would rise, disposable income in the economy would increase, families would be happier, and the country’s Gross Domestic Product, an indicator of productivity, will grow as wealth and abundance would increase all around.  
  • As a potential measure of the probability of increased social vices – such as robbery, kidnapping, terrorism, etc.; a consequence of idleness and inability to earn to meet humanity’s basic needs.  

According to a newspaper reporter, “unemployment in Sub-Saharan Africa is highest in South Africa, Namibia, and Nigeria in that order. This has become increasingly problematic since the Coronavirus pandemic. Experts project that the figures will grow even further amid concerns that “extensive government support programs won’t be able to keep many businesses hit by coronavirus restrictions afloat forever.”  

That same report states that South Africa has the highest unemployment rate (at 35.3% in Q4 2021) closely followed by Nigeria (at 33%). In Nigeria, where I coach from, the reality is that unemployment is much higher than the official figures show. The government has over the years tried to lower the figures through various initiatives aimed at supporting small and medium-sized businesses so they can employ others or at least, not disengage their current staff. 

Key questions on unemployment are:  

  1. What can be done to reduce unemployment on a sustainable long-term basis?   
  2. Is it government intervention or that of the private sector that will create an environment that will lower unemployment?   

Most of us would easily answer the second question as “both”. Whilst that might be the correct answer, it is important to proffer solutions that are not heavily dependent on government. Don’t get me wrong, there is no doubt the government has a significant impact through policies that can promote entrepreneurship and/or create an enabling environment for businesses growth. In the end, however, businesses must be managed to thrive despite the environment. 

What needs to be done to make businesses thrive? 
Business owners usually believe they can successfully run businesses simply because they are good at the technical or operational aspects of it. Statistics have however proven that belief to be false. A good entrepreneur must be a generalist rather than a specialist – as the skills required to run a successful business can be learned.   

Who better to support in this learning and entrepreneurship journey than a Business Coach?
A Business Coach works with business owners like a sports coach works with an athlete. The coach becomes the support system for enlarging the owner’s vision, passion for growth, improving skills required to actualize the vision, and ensuring focus, discipline, and an engaged team.  

I believe unemployment can be reduced through better-run businesses; coaching empowers business owners to do so. There is no great sportsperson that does not have a coach! Business owners can be supported to run great enterprises despite the environment. At ActionCOACH, our passion is to reduce unemployment by partnering with our clients to run successful businesses which we have defined as “a commercial profitable enterprise that works without YOU – the owner!” 

Imagine if every one of the over 17.4 million businesses in Africa is successful, as defined above, and can employ just one extra person at this time. What an impact this will have on reducing unemployment! 

ActionCOACH is on a mission to improve the ever-growing unemployment rate, to find out more about our EveryONE EmployONE movement – click here.

Folasade Odunaiya, ActionCOACH Business Coach (Lagos, Nigeria)
folasadeodunaiya.actioncoach.com | folasadeodunaiya@actioncoach.com