Mistakes Employers Make in Nigerian Recruitment (and How to Avoid Them) - Beshortlisted

Mistakes Employers Make in Nigerian Recruitment (and How to Avoid Them)


The job market in Nigeria is very active, with many businesses looking to hire talented professionals for various roles. However, understanding the complex legal rules around job advertising in Nigeria can be difficult for employers and HR staff. Not following these rules could lead to legal issues, damage to the company’s reputation, and loss of good candidates. Therefore, it is important to carefully analyse the key legal frameworks for job advertising in Nigeria to ensure compliance with relevant laws and regulations.


The Labour Act:
This is the main employment law in Nigeria. It sets out rules on equal opportunities, non-discrimination, and fair treatment of job seekers. Any job advert that goes against these principles could result in legal action against the employer.

Anti-Discrimination Laws:
Nigeria has strict laws against discrimination at work. Job adverts must not contain any language or requirements that discriminate based on gender, ethnicity, religion, or disability. Adverts should promote diversity and inclusion to attract a wide range of qualified candidates.

Advertising Standards:
As well as employment laws, job adverts in Nigeria must follow advertising standards set by bodies like the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON). Adverts must be truthful, not misleading, and must not contain offensive or indecent content. Not following these standards can result in fines and penalties.

Age Discrimination:
Employers must be careful not to include age preferences or limits in their job adverts. The National Human Rights Commission Act prohibits age discrimination in employment. Adverts should focus on qualifications, skills and relevant experience rather than age requirements.

Work Permits and Immigration:
For companies hiring foreign nationals in Nigeria, they must comply with work permit and immigration laws. Job adverts targeting expats must clearly state the need for valid work permits and following immigration rules. Failure to do so could result in legal consequences for both the employer and employee.

Data Protection and Privacy:
With data privacy being so important, job adverts must comply with Nigeria’s Data Protection Regulation (NDPR). Employers collecting personal information from applicants must ensure data is processed lawfully, transparently and securely. Adverts should include a privacy notice informing applicants how their data will be used and protected.

Key Examples:
Age Discrimination: In 2021, a major Nigerian bank faced criticism and legal issues for a job advert specifying an age range of 25-35 for a role. This age restriction was seen as discriminatory and violated the National Human Rights Commission Act.

Misleading Adverts: In 2019, the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) penalised a multinational company for publishing a misleading job advert promising unrealistic salaries and benefits. This broke advertising standards and led to fines, damaging the company’s reputation.

Data Privacy: In 2022, a major Nigerian telecoms company faced backlash for failing to include a privacy notice in job adverts, raising concerns over potential mishandling of applicants’ personal data.

By following the relevant legal frameworks around job advertising in Nigeria, employers can have a fair and inclusive hiring process, attract a diverse range of qualified candidates, and avoid legal issues and reputational damage.

References and quotes from the Nigerian Labour Act:

Employment Contracts (Section 7):
“Not later than three months after the beginning of a worker’s period of employment with an employer, the employer shall give to the worker a written statement specifying the terms and conditions of employment.”

Recruitment and Termination:
Section 50(4) prohibits forced labour: “No person shall be forced to work under any instruction, direction or order unless in accordance with a sentence passed in a court of law.”

Section 54 covers termination procedures and notice periods.

Wages and Remuneration:
Section 5(1) on minimum wage: “It shall be the duty of every employer to pay wages not less than the national minimum wage.”

Section 18 covers deductions from wages.

Hours of Work and Leave (Sections 13-16):
“The hours of work in any undertaking shall be so regulated that no worker shall be employed for more than forty hours per week.” (Section 13(1))

“A worker shall be entitled after twelve months continuous service to a holiday with full pay of at least six working days.” (Section 18(1))

Trade Unions (Part III):
“No trade union shall be registered…unless the principal objects of that trade union relate to all or any of the following matters…” (Section 24)

Health, Safety and Welfare (Part IV):

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