Lesson 8.Evolution and Structure Labour Force

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In this particular unit we are going to be studying labour force.

The concept of labour force is seen as the total number of capable men and women who are gainfully employed and/or who are not employed but are wiling to work. This unit will teach us what constitutes this labour force and the need for to study this group of people in the economy.

Understanding this concept will help Human Resource Planner for making appropriate forecast for manpower requirement in the organization.

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At the end of this unit,you will be able to do the following
  • Explain the concept of labour force.
  • Define labour force.
  • Identify the need to study labour force

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Labour force is defined by John Maher (1965) as all those people 14 year of age or over who have jobs or who are seeking jobs.

Labour force also could be defined as the total number of men and women who are (able or capable) and are gainfully employed, and those who fall in the age bracket, capable and willing to work but have no job in a country with a period of time. It might differ from country to country. The age bracket is usually between 18-56 years depending on the country. Fajana (2006) sees labour force as a set of people or citizens of a country who are willing and able to make available, at any given pointing time the effort for gainful employment. According to Fajana, it is not the entire population that constitutes the labour force, the population of a country especially its age structure, primarily determine the magnitude of the country’s labour force. The entire labour force constitutes the employed and unemployed. Those who are employed are made up of individuals with full or part time employment while the unemployed are individuals with no work but are looking for work. Fashoyin (1989) finding shows considerable growth in Nigeria labour force (Fajana2006

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In 1965, labour force accounted for 49% of the population, in 1975 it was 46%, in 1981, it amount to 34.4 percent. It was also observed that high percent of males within the labour force are in urban and rural market than female population.

The subsequent survey shows a drastic drift to urban areas for both male and female but with greater number of men. The population in Nigeria is experiencing a geometrical growth, this rapid population growth has been accompanied by rapid urbanization. Fajana pointed out that the trend towards larger and larger population conglomeration will eventually lead to drastic change in total population attributes obvious effects on economic activity within the nation. There is a consideration that the new labour force in different socio-cultural attributes and life style. He also indicated that new technologies, fall in birth rates, and increasing domestic automation or revolution have provided explanations for the universal creation of the new labour force. In Nigeria, the new labour force is comprised of medium to higher education (mostly of secondary and university education level) and increasingly inclusive of young female participants

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The study of labour can help to answer questions about one’s choice of occupation.
  • Are the chances of getting a job better for a secretary or driver
  • Are employment opportunities greater in the Banking Industries or in Manufacturing Industries
  • What income typifies these occupations and industries

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Give three definitions of labour force.

Why do we need to study labour force

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In this unit, we understand that labour force is the total number of able men and women who are employed and/or are willing to work though unemployed.

The entire population does not constitute labour force, however the population of country especially its age structure, primarily determine the labour force. The relevance of this concept has made it inevitable for any organization with full Human Resource Planning not to study. In this unit, we have learnt that labour force does not constitute entire population but men and women who are willing to work. Fayana pointed out that age structure, primarily determine the magnitude of the country’s labour force. Nigeria is witnessing a drastic move to urban area, this consequently increase employment and unemployment areas. We also saw the need to study labour force which among all include the chances of getting job and employment and the chances of getting a job in profession better than the others. Identify and discuss the need why labour force should be studied.

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Folayan Ojo (1998) Personnel Management Panaf Publisher Inc. Lagos.

Fayana Sola (2006) Industrial Relation in Nigeria Pana Press Ltd,lagos