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Hire Employees in Nigeria — Overview

Nigeria boasts Africa’s largest consumer market, a thriving startup and fintech scene, as well as a well-educated, English-speaking labor force, making it a prime destination for international and remote hiring.

Economically, Nigeria has been on a significant growth trajectory over the last 30 years: Nigerian GDP at purchasing power parity (PPP) went from $282 billion in 2000 to $1.15 trillion in 2021. Citigroup has even estimated that Nigeria will have the highest GDP growth in the world between 2010 and 2050.

For companies considering the benefits of overseas and remote employee hire, Nigeria is an important location to consider.

Facts & Stats

Population 225,082,083 (labor force 64.5M) Capital City Abuja Languages Spoken English [official]
Currency Nigerian Naira (NGN) GDP per capita $2,085 Ease of Doing Business 131st  in the world
Minimum Wage NGN 30,000/month Average Wage NGN 339,000/month Paid Leave 6 days

Nigeria: Business Environment

Nigeria’s is the largest economy on the African continent, representing the largest consumer market. The business environment benefits from a young, educated, population that has been central to the development of Nigeria’s burgeoning tech and creative industries. Furthermore, a lack of restrictions on foreign investment male it a logical location for African expansion from international companies.

The upward progression of Nigeria’s ranking in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business report is indicative of Nigeria’s progress in terms of the physical infrastructure,  political stability, and legal regulation required of a modern economy. In fact, according to one Citigroup report, Nigeria is predicted to have the most significant GDP growth between 2000 and 2050.

Business outlook in Nigeria

For Covid-related reasons the Nigerian economy followed much of the world in entering recession. However, the economy recovered through 2021 with an annual GDP growth rate of 3.6%. The AFDB forecast an average growth rate of 3.2% between 2022 and 2023.

Business regulation in Nigeria

Employment relationships in Nigeria are covered under several key pieces of legislation, including; the Labour Act (2004), the Factories Act (2004), the Trade Disputes Act (2004), the Employees Compensation Act (2010). 

Within certain legislation, such as the Labour Act, a distinction is made between those employees engaged in unskilled labor and those working in technical or professional roles. Ultimately, Nigerian law recognises freedom of contract and employers are required to provide employees with a written contract of employment, no later than three months after the employee commences work.

Business culture in Nigeria

With over 250 different ethnic groups spread across 36 states and 1 federal capital territory, Nigeria is one of the most ethnically diverse countries in the world. Over 500 languages and regional dialects are spoken in Nigeria but English is the primary language of business. The communication style is direct and, generally, Nigerians prefer to communicate in-person or over the phone.

As with other African nations, Nigeria’s business culture is hierarchical. Respect should be shown to all colleagues, but reverence is based on seniority, both in terms of age and position. The hierarchical business culture is related, in part, to the prevalence of family owned and operated businesses in Nigeria. Families tend to have many children and it’s common for businesses to employ family members in managerial and senior roles. 

Recruiting employees in Nigeria

Recruiting employees in Nigeria — Overview

Under Nigeria’s Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA), foreign companies must incorporate an entity in Nigeria before hiring any employees. Alternatively, foreign companies can embark on a joint venture with an indigenous company that has legal status, such as choosing to hire employees through a Nigeria PEO. As the only global PEO with an in-house recruitment team, Horizons take care of the sourcing, recruiting, and onboarding of your Nigerian workforce as well as the HR and legal compliance work.

Employers in Nigeria use a number of channels to recruit new employees. Recruitment agencies are popular as are jobs boards such as MyJobMag; Indeed; and Jobberman.

Employers must comply with Nigeria’s laws preventing discrimination during the hiring process. Maintain compliance by avoiding questions relating to; religion, sex, health (such as HIV status), and ethnic or linguistic ties.

Most important recruitment tools in Nigeria

  • Jobberman
    Jobberman is Nigeria’s leading job marketplaces. The website offers a full suite of services for both candidates and employers.
  • Indeed
    Recognised as the world’s largest recruitment platform, Indeed has operated its Nigerian subdomain since 2018. The site is popular among multinational companies operating in Nigeria.
  • MyJobMag
    MyJobMag is one of Africa’s largest job portals. The website boasts over 1M active users across the four African markets it serves (Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya & South Africa).

Interviewing candidates in Nigeria

Interviewing candidates in Nigeria — Overview

An important point to be aware of in relation to interviewing candidates in Nigeria, or any scheduled event, is time-keeping. Even in business settings, Nigerians tend to be relaxed about time-keeping. This attitude says more about the traffic and disparities in physical infrastructure across Nigeria’s major population centers than it does about Nigerians themselves.

Virtual interviews are used occasionally, but job interviews tend to be conducted face-to-face in Nigeria. When recruiting for technical roles, it’s not uncommon for recruiters to ask candidates to complete assessments that assess cognitive and technical skills.

Can I ask the candidate’s previous salary in Nigeria?

Yes. There are no laws that ban Nigerian employers from asking candidates about their salary history. Questions regarding salary history are common in Nigeria and some companies request candidates to provide payslips as evidence of previous employment.

What is the typical salary increase at a new job in Nigeria?

On average, employee salaries in Nigeria tend to increase by between 6 and 10% every 19 months. This is loosely based on the Nigerian Central Bank’s target inflation rate of 6-9%. 

Onboarding employees in Nigeria

Onboarding employees in Nigeria — Overview

The onboarding process is overlooked by many employers, but it is a crucial part of the recruitment process. A well thought-out onboarding process helps new employees get settled into their roles, paving the way for positive job performance and higher rates of employee engagement and retention. 

There aren’t any specific requirements for the onboarding process in Nigeria. The Labour Act (2004) includes a stipulation that employers must provide the employee with a written copy of the employment contract within three months of starting the job. This three month period is based on the maximum probationary period in Nigeria. 

Employment contracts in Nigeria are required by law to cover a number of points, at a minimum: 

  • The nature of the employment, i.e. job title & duties;
  • Hours of work;
  • The notice period length and procedure;
  • Details on wages, i.e. agreed rate in Nigerian Naira & payroll frequency;
  • Holiday pay; 
  • Conditions for incapacity due to sickness & injury;
  • Special conditions of the contract, i.e. benefits & entitlements. 

Note that Nigerian law allows for both fixed and permanent/indefinite employment contracts, meaning the form of contract will have a bearing on its specific makeup. For example, fixed-term contracts are required to include the employment start and end date. 

Best remote working tools to use in Nigeria

Following the Nigerian government’s imposition of lockdowns in response to the Covid19 pandemic in 2020, a number of companies trialed remote working policies. Many workers, particularly those working in tech jobs, went on to negotiate fully remote or hybrid working models. It should be noted, however, that irregular power supply and internet outages are common problems in Nigeria that can complicate working from home. 

A number of applications are popular amongst remote workers in Nigeria. 

  • Zoom is the most popular video conferencing platforms in Nigeria. Zoom’s partnerships with nigerian telecoms companies has enabled a direct dial-in feature. This allows participants to call in using any type of phone, a feature that is proving particularly popular amongst remote workers operating from areas where internet connectivity is variable. 
  • Google Drive, the file sharing and cloud storage service offered by Google is used widely across Nigeria. The ability for users to collaborate on various file types in real time is particularly popular. 
  • WhatsApp is used by businesses of all sizes for communicating between teams. The ability to integrate WhatsApp with other social media platforms such as Facebook means WhatsApp Business is particularly popular amongst smaller Nigerian businesses. WhatsApp’s popularity reflects Nigerians’ preference to communicate with colleagues over a call rather than via email or message. 

Holiday schedule in Nigeria - 2024

Employees who have worked for at least 12 months with the same employer, are legally entitled to a minimum of six days of paid annual leave. Some employers allow their employees to roll untaken holidays over to the following year, however accrued leave must be taken within two years.

Along with paid annual leave, public holidays are considered part of the minimum benefits that employers must provide their employees. Where public holidays fall on a working day, employees are not required to work. Certain regional public holidays exist however Nigeria celebrates 13 public holidays nationally:

DateHoliday name
1 Jan, 2024New Year’s Day
29 Mar, 2024Good Friday
1 Apr, 2024Easter Monday
10 Apr, 2024Id el Fitr (Tentative Date)
11 Apr, 2024Id el Fitr holiday (Tentative Date)
1 May, 2024Workers’ Day
12 Jun, 2024Democracy Day
16 Jun, 2024Id el Kabir (Tentative Date)
17 Jun, 2024Id el Kabir additional holiday (Tentative Date)
16 Sep, 2024Id el Maulud (Tentative Date)
1 Oct, 2024National Day
25 Dec, 2024Christmas Day
26 Dec, 2024Boxing Day

The date that a number of Nigeria’s public holidays falls is variable, being declared annually by the Nigerian government. 

What is the typical salary increase employees in Nigeria expect?

Nigerian employees typically expect an annual salary increase that matches the rate of inflation. However, a consistently high rate of inflation combined with a growing population and highly competitive job market means this is not always achieved. 

Across Nigeria’s professional industries, the average salary increase is typically around 5%.


A range of factors influence the decision, including the type of work being performed, the need for training and the requirements imposed by certain company policies, such as the need for data privacy. Nigeria has a large population of freelance workers with many professionals choosing to supplement stable income through freelancing. Ultimately your decision comes down to locus of control, i.e. hiring an employee allows for increased control over work methods, place of work and hours.

Yes, provided the foreign worker has the necessary permits and/or visas to work in Nigeria.
Foreign citizens intending to work in Nigeria need to obtain an STR visa and a CERPAC or Combined Expatriate Residence Permit and Aliens Card. The application process can be completed via the relevant Nigerian embassy or through the Nigerian Immigration Service. Alternatively, contact our in-house recruitment team for a consultation on your hiring project.

Establishing an entity in Nigeria is a challenging process that is complicated by layers of bureaucracy at both the federal and state level. In terms of deciding on the structure of your Nigerian entity, each has certain requirements for incorporation and operational pros & cons. The other option is to work with a global PEO, such as Horizons, who can handle the recruiting and onboarding of your Nigerian workforce, along with all of your HR and legal compliance work.

There are several ways to go about hiring employees in Nigeria, from online job portals to recruitment agencies. However, these types of services are restrictive in that the service offering is limited. Instead, businesses looking to expand into Nigeria choose to use a Nigeria PEO that can source, recruit and onboard employees in Nigeria whilst also being the legally compliant Employer of Record.

Hiring in Nigeria, Made Easy

Your business can easily hire employees in Nigeria without opening a local entity. We handle local employment law, complex tax regulations, and international payroll in 180+ countries worldwide. All you need to do is focus on your business.

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