Two out of every five people working in Nigerian banks are contract staff, analysis of data provided by the National Bureau of Statistics has shown.
According to the NBS, as of the end of September 2020, 23 banks operating in employed a total of 95,888 workers. Out of this number, 40,382 of them were contract on contract. This means that 42.11 per cent of the workers are on contract.
Institutions covered in the employment statistics include commercial banks, merchant banks and non-interest banks.
A contract employee is an individual retained by a company for a predetermined time and cost. The employer is usually not responsible for providing a variety of traditional employer benefits such as pensions and health insurance.
A variant of contract job is casualisation. Shrinking economy and the consequent growing unemployment and underemployment have many workers susceptible to casual and contract jobs.
Further breakdown of the data provided by the NBS showed out of the banks’ total workforce, 241 were executive staff; 17,618 were senior staff, 37,647 were junior staff while the rest were on contract level.
The NBS revealed that the total number of contract staff in the banking sector stood at 45,350 in Q4, 2019, while the total staff was 103,610.
In the first quarter of 2020, the banks had 41,181 contract staff out of 96,975 workers; while in Q2, 2020, the sector had 38,942 contract staff out of 94,498 workers.
The need to cut down on cost had forced a number organisations to resort to contract employment which a number of labour unions are opposed to.
However, a former President, Trade Union Congress, Peter Esele said, contract employment was legal, depending on what contract staff signed.
He said, “What we have to ask ourselves is, does this contract guarantee sustainable wage?
“Does it cater to the yearnings and aspiration of workers? Does the contract ensure that the productivity of the workers is enhanced? Does it also create enabling environment for the workers to be at their best?”
He added, “If these criteria are met, it is okay, but knowing how the employers work, I don’t think the workers are enjoying where they found themselves.
“But what we find is that most of them don’t have a union.”
He said it was for this reason that contract staff were unionised in the oil and gas sector.
“If the workers are unionised in the banking sector, my advice to them is that they should sit down and put a condition of service or collective bargaining agreement with employers in the banking sector,” he said.
Speaking on a related issue, the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria had said it relaunched its mentoring scheme for the capacity development of young practitioners in the banking and finance industry to address some of the gaps identified in the industry.
It stated that the CIBN mentoring scheme which was launched in 2012 was designed to enhance learning and career development for young bankers and to provide opportunity to strengthen the talent pipeline into senior leadership roles in the banking and finance industry.
The President/Chairman, CIBN, Mr ‘Bayo Olugbemi, said, “The changing times require that we do things differently.
“At the CIBN, we believe that to maintain safety, soundness and stability of the banking industry, the human capital has a pivotal role to play.
“In this wise, we have identified mentoring as a potent tool for bridging the gap between learning and doing.
“In order to uphold ethics and professionalism which is the hallmark of the banking industry, accomplished, experienced bankers need to mentor the young and upcoming ones in order to sustain the ideals of our industry.”
Pix: Banks in Nigeria