Could Nexford be part of the solution to plugging the skills gaps in Nigeria’s creative industry?

Mark Talmage-Rostron
05.10.2021·9 min read

Nigeria’s creative sector can potentially unlock the country’s economy and provide increased employment opportunities for the youth

According to Jobberman research, the creative sector currently employs an estimated 4.2 million Nigerians,  and has the potential to create an additional 2.7 million jobs by 2025. The creative sector has strong ties to the fashion industry in the country as well. Since the showcasing of indigenous designs on the world’s most prestigious runways, Nigeria’s fashion industry has received global endorsement and experienced rapid growth, making it a major contributor to the creative economy.

The creative industry is also arguably the second largest employer of labor in Nigeria. The sector currently provides employment to more than 4 million people based on aggregated data from various sources.

Based on those facts and figures above, and those below, one could be forgiven for thinking that it’s all plain sailing for the Nigerian creative industry from here on out. Sadly, that’s not the case. There are still large skills gaps when it comes to the supply of top talent for the industry.

Findings from Jobberman’s Creative skills gap report reflect that cinematography and videography, project management, marketing, customer service, and graphic design, are in short supply. Below are the top skill gap areas in the Nigerian creative industry:

  • Cinematography and videography
  • Project management
  • Marketing
  • Acting
  • Customer service
  • Booking & ticketing
  • Graphic design
  • Photography

But it is not all doom and gloom. Most of these skills that are in short supply can be rectified when it comes to degrees programs and courses that are offered by leading universities in Nigeria such as Nexford. A BBA in 360° Marketing can definitely help to solve the marketing issue,

Entrepreneurship in the creative industry is also a bit of an issue. Now whilst they say that you can’t teach people to be entrepreneurs, which is probably true, you can though help people bolster that skill set and their business acumen using University degrees and courses. A Nexford ‘Introduction to Entrepreneurship’ course can certainly help there.

Plugging the skills gaps is extremely important when one considers how big the creative industry is, as per the below, and what it contributes to the GDP and the future of the country’s workers.

Nollywood is leading the pack

Nigeria’s film industry also known as Nollywood is the second largest producer of movies in the world, second only to India’s Bollywood. It currently produces about 50 movies per week, generates around $600 million annually and is the country’s second largest employer, and is a significant part of the arts, entertainment and recreation sector. It currently leverages technological platforms such as Iroko TV and Netflix as well as cinemas to increase distribution of its movies.

That all needs technical minds behind the scenes to make sure that the magic happens and continues to happen. Obviously if those skillsets are not being acquired via world-class higher education from colleges and universities, the industry will stall and at worst case scenario, lose ground to rival movie industries, which has the propensity to put a huge dent in Nigeria’s economy.

Music to Nigeria’s ears

Then there is the musical side of the arts. According to The Business of Entertainment report, Nigeria’s music revenue is expected to rise to US$73 million in 2021 from US$39 million in 2016 signifying a 13.4% rise in CAGR.

And, two of Nigeria’s leading music artistes (WizKid and Burna boy) were winners at the 2021 Grammy awards. With this growing influence, the economic prospects of Nigeria’s creative sector is seemingly without limits.

Dedicated followers of fashion!

According to Stears Business, Nigeria’s fashion market accounts for 15% ($4.7billion) of Sub-Saharan fashion market, and it maintains that Nigeria is on the right path to harnessing its fast growing fashion potential as revenue from textile, apparel, and footwear has averaged a growth of 17% since 2010 according to News Wing.

Industries within the creative sector are taking advantage of technology to innovate to remain relevant and sustain growth. Also, the pandemic is expected to continue contributing to lowering the cost of streaming and app downloads and lead to an increase in the demand for film, gaming, and music online given the reduction in live entertainment. For instance, Nigeria’s gaming industry is projected to grow by 21.4% in 2021 according to PwC’s prediction.

All these have combined to generate promising circumstances for growth with implications for how creative content is being produced, distributed and consumed. More so, these drivers are promoting innovative ways through which creative art and content is being expressed.

Taking that all into consideration, the future looks bright for the entertainment industry in Nigeria. Or does it?

One step forward, two steps back

That’s the good news, the more sobering news however is that there still exists a very real skills gap which means that creativity is almost having to give way to a type of censorship.

A Business Day report outlines that as the creative industry continues to grow, so will the demand for talent. Amongst other issues, the ability of the sector to create jobs for young Nigerians is limited by the skills gap identified across key roles, largely due to a dearth in institutions that prepare talent for the industry.

It goes on to say that although there are young people interested in the various interesting opportunities across the sector (mostly as independent workers/freelancers) many do not possess the required skills to meet the expectations of the employers. While recruiters are more likely to come across a larger pool of talent at the beginner or intermediate levels, the growing industry is now beginning to demand more advanced skills.

Employers are increasingly giving more focus to soft skills during recruitment and are shifting from an emphasis on certifications to practical tests and experience shown in CVs as the basis for recruitment.

Investment in skills development through the inclusion of soft skills and digital skills into the curriculum presents an opportunity to solve the skills gap and reduce the backlog of an analogue reality. Hence, galvanizing efforts to upskill young people with the necessary skills to take advantage of the tech advancements and the fourth industrial revolution is imperative. There is also a need to map apprenticeship/internship structures and provide mentorship and career opportunities for budding talents to create a linkage with employers so that the skills gained are relevant for the market.

The 2021 Creative Sector Skills Gap Report created by Jobberman, Nigeria’s #1 online jobs platform, has turned a spotlight on some gaping holes in Nigeria’s creative sector fabric. Gaps that need to be plugged, and soon, as Nigeria is projected to be the world’s fastest growing entertainment and media (E&M) market by 2021. It is thought that the market will be worth US$6.4billion by 2021 compared to its $3.6 billion valuation in 2016. That’s not chump change in anyone’s book.

These studies present emerging perspectives on the current landscape of the Nigerian creative sector as well as the shifts occurring within it and what this means for job creation. With a focus on Lagos, Kano and Kaduna, the skills gap report highlighted the jobs in-demand within the creative sector and attempted to identify where gaps exist between jobseekers’ skills and what employers require.

On the other hand, the sector study provides useful knowledge on how to understand the sector and attempts to advance an understanding of the factors promoting growth as well as the dominant issues within it, and what this means for job creation and related labor market dynamics.

“Creativity is not just about art. It lies at the heart of innovation, thus it is not a superficial skill, but a necessity for human survival.” — Balder Onarheim, PhD, Associate Professor Technical University of Denmark

How Nigeria can plug the skills gaps

According to the Jobberman report, the best way is via a three-pronged approach. Investing in skills development, structural regulation of the creative sector, and investment and innovation.

Investing in skills development

  1. Galvanize efforts to equip young people with soft skills and expand formal education opportunities to prepare them to take up jobs in the creative sector.
  2. Mapping apprenticeship structures and investing in their capacity for formalization and linking them with employers so that the relevant skills they gain are relevant for the market.

Structural regulation of the creative sector 

  1. Invest in infrastructure and create a friendly regulatory environment for the creative economy to grow.
  2. Create a standardized and holistic structure for the creative industries, thereby shifting from being informal to formal, e.g., a sound legal framework and distribution channel.

Investment and innovation 

  1. 1. Grants and loans by the government should be made easily accessible to all subsectors.
  2. Attract foreign creative players into the local ecosystem to invest and set up businesses, hubs, and training centers.
  3. Provide mentorship and career opportunities for budding talents. Linking them with established creatives.

This can’t be discounted as a way out of the skills gap, but there is no denying that to protect the burgeoning creative industry in Nigeria, the importance of higher education can’t be overlooked.

A modern degree will help those in the industry – and those looking to get into it – develop the soft skills they’ll require in their professional career. It will allow them to practice continuous learning, and help them to continue developing throughout their careers. That’s exactly what they need to stay relevant in the labor market. It will prepare them for more qualified and high-paying jobs in the sector.

A company expects a better professional performance from a university graduate, and this is something they are prepared to pay for. According to a study by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, MBA grads currently enter the job market with a starting salary 30% higher than those with a Bachelor’s degree in Business.

A degree from Nexford university can help set these vital members of the creative industry on a path to success by upskilling and reskilling, and the beauty of it is that it’s 100% online learning. That means these creative boffins will be able to continue living and working in Nigeria and still procure a global first-class degree.

As the Chinese proverb goes, the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago; the second-best time to plant a tree is now. And so it is with the qualifications that will protect your career into the future: once you recognize the skills that will future-proof your career, the time to start developing them is now.

 

Ready to take the next step? Learn more about our 100% online, affordable, and high-quality Programs and Specializations.  

About the Author

Mark Talmage-Rostron

Mark is a college graduate with Honours in Copywriting. He is the Content Marketing Manager at Nexford, creating engaging, thought-provoking, and action-oriented content.

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