20 Underpaid jobs in Nigeria

Nigeria is one of the most interesting places to live on earth. What makes it so interesting, is the way most of the sectors that make up our economy is being handled. It makes for a pleasurable reading seeing how our educational system is collapsing gradually despite the high fees charged. Government has virtually lost control of the plot to revive the educational system in Nigeria and it seems as if the sector is on autopilot. To worsen the already bad situation in the educational system, most graduates after struggling through the university still are unemployed or paid peanuts for jobs they eventually secure. It’s like a nightmare watching how most workers put in so much, but get paid so little under the guise of monthly wages. Taking a look at some jobs that are underpaid wasn’t too difficult, as they abound in numbers and you will be shocked the jobs that made it to this list, yet it goes;


The teaching profession is the oldest profession in the world, yet they remain the least paid among several professions in Nigeria. The general slogan has always been: “Their reward is in heaven”. But most if not all of them would have preferred to enjoy their reward here on earth. Considering their input into the molding of children from Nursery, through primary, secondary and then to the University. They surely deserve to be among the best paid in the country. The story unfortunately is the exact opposite. The average secondary school teacher on grade level 7 is not up to N60, 000. Such an amount would not be able to take care of the basic needs like shelter, clothing and food.

Computer operator

Most employers view computer operators as not deserving of a good salary based on the fact that virtually everyone is becoming computer literate. Hence they do not place high premium on those who are doing computer operations work, especially in the private sector. Such a tedious work that sometimes put these computer operators in danger are deserving of a better pay.

Banking jobs

I walked into first bank some months ago and when it was my turn to deposit the money I took to the bank, I had a little chat with the staff at the counter and what he told me was heart rendering. Because he was well dressed, I jokingly told him that he must be receiving a juicy salary package. On the contrary he told me he was just a temporary staff, and to make matters worse he was receiving less than N70, 000. I was shocked, because these are people that get to the office before 8AM every week day and close very late. They risk their life whenever there is an arm robbery operation at the bank and then they go home with peanuts. These guys were just smiling and putting on nice clothes to hide their pain inside.


I was shocked recently when I learnt how much an average pharmacist was earning after spending years in the University to secure their certificate and get their license. I was reliably informed that an average pharmacist earned less than 120K monthly. It was so embarrassing based on the nature of their work and their value in the society. Those working in private companies are even worse off.

Software developers

Another set of workers that are underpaid in Nigeria, are the software developers. These are people that help package software used in running some of the computer systems both in government and privately owned companies. Unfortunately, their monthly salary is appalling when compared to their counterpart in other parts of the world.

Security Guards

These workers are the poorest in every company whether government or private company. They are often disregarded, molested and eventually paid stipends for watching multi million Naira investments. Such a shame that they are never given the due recognition they deserve. They are the first point of danger whenever any company is being attacked by robbers or intruders. The average security guard and I don’t mean privately employed securities. I mean security guards employed directly by a company earn less than 60K monthly.

Police men/women

These people are just so pitiable that it will take a miracle to stop corruption in the force. A new recruit receives just N108, 233 as annual salary and you expect the best from him or her? Absolutely not. Its impossible I must confess. They may be bad, but they do have families to be fed and clothed and they deserve the best salary for the sacrifice they make daily.


You may say, but doctors are well paid. That is not true, because some of them still go into private practice due to their low wages. Some even engage other businesses to create additional income for themselves. Those who are working in private hospitals are the worst hit


These are workers that specialize in creating programs for a company system. Their job is so tasking and complex yet they do not  get commensurate wages like their counterparts in other countries of the world.

Company Drivers

I once worked in a company where the driver to the CEO was receiving less than N80, 000 after spending more than 8 years in service. He was even getting overtime which made the salary to add up to N87, 000 monthly. Once a week, he was always on the ever busy lokoja Abuja road, carrying the CEO for one meeting or the other. It was so terrible. A truth be told a driver who earns N87,000 in Nigeria has it good. Most drivers get paid unbelievable amounts not worth mentioning.

Top 20 Underpaid jobs in Nigeria
Top 20 Underpaid jobs in Nigeria

Court clerk

With a basic salary of N38, 000, most court clerks are ranked among the least paid workers in the country. They depend on tips from clients who come to the court premises for one reason or the other. Their job is so tasking especially when the court is in session.


When you think about the number one reason why nurses are fleeing the country to other countries that would be due to poor remuneration. It’s so sad that someone who does shift duty and ensure the general well being of patients take home less than N40,000 monthly and gets no compensation for a job well done. Nurses have also had to set up make shift ‘medical centers or pharmacies in their homes to make ends meet. It is such an eye sore.


Most cleaners working in both government and private companies are underpaid. They receive within 15K-30K depending on the company, and they do some of the most dirtiest and tedious work you can ever think of.


The average compensation for a typical Nigerian receptionist working in a company is rather too low for such stressful job. They are always attending to visitors, talking on phone and making one contact or the other. At the end of the month, their pay does not reflect their input on the job.

Lab attendants

I feel shocked each time I see these set of talented individuals in government and privately owned hospitals get treated whenever I go to these hospitals. They are always putting in their best in collecting blood and urine samples of patients. They collect less than N40, 000 monthly with no other form of benefits attached.

Control room operators

The average control room operator in South Africa take home twice as much as what a Nigerian who works the same exact work takes home. In the US, the control room operator takes home thrice of what his Nigerian counterpart is paid. It’s a documentary that has a sad ending. Unfortunately, things don’t look rosy as they remain in the top ranking of underpaid jobs in Nigeria.

Nigeria Security and Civil Defense

They are always risking their life’s looking for pipe line vandals daily. Some of them earn as low as N70, 000 and yet they do the job with smiles on their faces. The joy of putting on the uniform seems to be more compensating than even their monthly take home.

Fire fighters

I had a friend working in the fire fighting section of our company. He was always broke before the end of the month. When he approached me once for a loan, I became curious and asked him what happened to his salary. He told me his monthly take home and I never bothered asking him further. He was collecting less than N50, 000 and he was married with three kids.

Local government workers

Most local government workers in the country are being owed more than 6 months of salary. Some have stopped going to work while others have started other businesses to survive. Their monthly salary is more like a stipend. They are at the mercy of money lenders who lend them money on a monthly basis.

Sales job

Most marketing companies employ sales personnel who help them market their product, and these young boys and girls are paid stipends at the end of the month. They trek long distance under the sun and rain with no insurance cover.  The companies on the other hand reap huge profit at the end of the year.

Telecom jobs

I have a friend who works with etisalat now called 9mobile. He is a master degree holder from the University of Benin and has spent more than two years with the company. He takes home less than N60, 000 every month. What he enjoys is the glamour of putting on the company branded t shirt and appearing cool to outsiders, while he gets milked daily.


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