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EXPLORINNG THE PROBLEMS AND COUNSELLING NEEDS OF WORKERS FOR OCCUPATIONAL ADJUSTMENT IN INDUSTRIES

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background of the study

Nigeria is fast growing into an industrialized nation in recent years. This is seen in the rate at which private and public individuals embark on establishment of industries. This trend invariably makes Nigeria a work oriented society, particularly in Enugu State. Some individuals engage in private enterprises while others get settled in public enterprises. Those in private enterprises sometimes have different problems, needs and aspirations in their work activities when compared with their counterparts in public sector organizations. Sometimes after working hours, some workers or employees usually converge at recreational centers where they spend time with friends and colleagues from different occupations.

At such meetings or contacts, people share their experiences in the different places of work. Sometimes in the course of conversations, they are privileged to share their experiences with regards to their different working conditions. Some of their problems range from low or inadequate payment, delayed payment of salaries workers adjustment problems, non motivation to communication gap between management and workers.

Others express regret over lack of job security, lack of free medical care, exposure to hazards, long working hours, and exploitation by the employers among others. From the rapid pace of growth of industries in conjunction with the emerging increase in the population of workers and their problems, the need for counselling in the industrial establishments in Nigeria becomes clearer.

Counselling refers to a helping relationship that reassures, restructures, accommodates and stimulates action for the meaningful development and adaptation of an individual. According to Eweniyi (2002), counselling is defined as a learning process in which relationship is developed between two persons in a confidential environment with the view to mutually achieve problem solving goal. Okeke (2003) defines counselling as a helping relationship involving the counselor and the client in which the counselor uses his professional knowledge and skills to assist the client to attain proper development and maturity, improve functioning and improve ability to cope with life problems.

From the above definitions, it could be seen that counseling involves the utilization of professional skills by a trained counsellor towards assisting an individual to learn and develop a problem solving skill for self-realization and self-fulfillment.

Counselling is also a helping relationship which is geared toward assisting an individual to gain self insight such that he is able to utilize his abilities and potentials in achieving his set goals especially in terms of work.

Nigeria is a work oriented society, some workers or employees engage in private enterprises while others get settled in public enterprises (government paid employment). Private enterprises according to Thomas (2007) is defined as a business unit established, owned and operated by private individual for profit  instead of any government or its agencies. Private enterprises can also be defined as a business organization which is owned and managed by private individuals rather than government bodies. Private enterprises in the context of this work are privately owned industries that engage in the production and manufacturing of goods and services in which the main purpose is to maximize profit.

According to Geocahe, Bromance and Mojito (2014), an industry is defined as a productive organization that produces or supplies goods, services, or sources of income. This implies that an industry is an organization which engages in the production of goods and services for income generation. Public enterprise according to United Nations as cited in Henry (2009) is an incorporated or large unincorporated enterprises in which public authorities hold a majority of the shares and exercise control over management decisions. Public enterprises are also corporations that are wholly or partly owned and controlled by the state. To achieve the goals of the various industrial establishments is obviously dependent on the activities and roles of workers or employees.

Workers are the backbone of any organization or industry that performs critical tasks for the survival of the organization.  A worker according to Conrad and Joseph (2009) is defined as one who works at a particular occupation or activity. A worker can also be seen as an employee who works in an industry. According to Obidoa and Ifeluni (2010) an employee is a person who is paid to work for somebody.  Madu (2012) observed that employees are made up of workers serving in either the public or private sectors. He further stated that employees range from the highest class of chief executives to the lowest class of office messengers or gatemen. The worker or employee could be male or female who works in an industry.

Highlighting on this, Cassel (2002) and Adebunsuyi (2007) maintained that gender refers to the social fact of being male or female or having the recognizable traits of one’s sex. The characteristics and behaviours that are generally associated with being a male are referred to as masculine and those associated with being a female are referred to as feminine. Work force in Nigerian industries is also characterized by gender disparity especially in wages and salaries. Lending credence to the assertion, Ode (2004) stated that with the present downturn in the country, it is becoming increasingly difficult for the average Nigerian workers to make ends meet because of inadequate wages and high inflation with reference to gender disparity in pay package.  Highlighting on this, Peterson Trond and Thea (2006) stated that there are so many aspects of the gender bias and discrimination in organization by the employer. For instance, there is discrimination in job compensation, packaging, hiring, and favoritism related to job promotion. There is also bias in wage setting for different types of work. They further stressed their point that work force is divided horizontally and vertically with reference to male and female such as unfair distribution of pay and wages of male and female workers.

Supporting this, Heilman and Okimoto (2008) stated that employment bias occur against mothers irrespective of whether they were students or working people and that women suffer disadvantages at their work places.

Observations have shown that incentives and services ranging from good and free medical care, good transportation and social welfare allowance are given to those in the higher cadre while the lower ones are ignored.  This discrimination often causes friction among the workers. Also, some workers stay for months without salary while others are stagnated in one grade level for decades. All these have often conjunctively radiated a lot of fear on the workers. Stressing on junior and senior workers, disparity among junior and senior workers could result in the role demands between them as junior workers usually serve as messengers with heavy physical work and are usually supervised by senior workers and executives (Jared, 2014). In the context of this work, junior workers are workers below grade level seven employees which constitute the middle class manpower in the industries while senior workers are those above grade level seven employees and constitute senior manpower in the industries respectively. On the other hand, junior staff is a worker (male or female) in an organization whose position and status is lower in level than a supervisor while senior staff is any worker above the position of a supervisor as observed by Madu (2012).

Those in private enterprises sometimes have different expectations and problems in their work activities when compared to their counterparts in the public enterprise. Thus, workers in various establishments generally have problems and needs which bother them.

Workers in the process of production and manufacturing of goods within the industry and social gatherings outside their working environment experience social inter-relationships. During such gatherings and interpersonal relationships, workers discuss their problems which range from exposure to work hazard, long working hours, lack of incentive. They talk about other working conditions such as lack of facilities in the office, poor transportation system, poor accommodation and housing allowances, lack of motivation by employers, lack of health care facilities or medical allowances and lack of promotion as and when due, including social needs such as betrayal of confidence on intimate information from their bosses and employers, anti social attitudes from work mates, others entertain fear of retrenchment and indiscriminate withholding of salaries, gender discrimination and disparity among junior and senior workers.                 Beside these, some others air their grievances over educational problems such as lack of opportunities for job improvement and occupational adjustment through courses, seminars and in- service training from employers and in terms of vocational problems, they also entertain fear of retrenchment due to lack of requisite skill in the face of new technology, they also discuss lack of current information for vocational adjustment and lack of  information on work security and job satisfaction among others in the industries. In most cases, these problems make workers to become less efficient, unproductive and even maladjusted. Thus, the need for the provision of counseling services such as personal-social,  educational and vocational counselling by professional counsellors in industries to enable the workers gain knowledge of available opportunities in the world of work, make appropriate vocational adjustment for efficiency, productivity and job satisfaction.

Problems of workers are hardly met because of the situation of the economy. Therefore, workers should be guided on the appropriate thing to do (Martins and Idowu, 2005). This is true because workers are faced with many problems and needs such as need for overcoming health challenges, security, personal maladjustment and striving for survival. Highlighting on social needs of workers, Longbap and Bulus (2004) opined that it is necessary that counselors and other helping professionals should assist these workers by providing strategies for managing the problems of pre-retirement anxiety for their social wellbeing. Such counselling should include assistance to the workers on planning for retirement and savings among others.

Reasoning on the vocational counselling needs of industrial workers, Eze (2010) maintained that it is the duty of guidance counsellors to help individuals acquire knowledge about the world of work so as to be able to make realistic decision in the choice of a career. This is true because, workers who are well guided on the aforementioned problems by professional counselors will be in a position to make better vocational choice prior to entry and adjust to the work environment, put in their best and gain satisfaction in the job. While stressing on educational  counselling need, Omeje (2007) posited that educational information is very necessary for the students, counselors, teachers and parents. This implies that workers equally need educational information and be assisted by guidance counselors to utilize educational opportunities available to them such as undertaking part time educational programmes, workshops and seminars in their area of specialization and in-service training among others especially for junior ones for occupational adjustment.

Adjustment according to Anyanwu (2014) is the act of making or becoming suitable and adjusting to circumstances. Stressing further, she noted that every individual occupies certain positions and plays certain roles in his social relations at home, school and at work environments and can only become effective and achieve satisfaction if he is occupationally adjusted.  Occupational adjustment according to Omeje (2007) is the ability of an individual (worker) to adapt to the rules and regulations and other conditions of service. Highlighting  further, he stated that  it is only when an individual is able to adapt to these rules and regulations and other conditions of service that he can then be regarded as an occupationally adjusted individual.

From the above definitions, occupational adjustment can be perceived as the ability of an individual or a worker to fit in properly into his working environment or a chosen career such that he is able to perform his task effectively.  Lack of adjustment leads to crisis and unrest. Rose (2008) argued that industrial unrest and dissatisfaction are not unconnected with lack of career growth and advancement; employees who feel stuck in their job position are less motivated to maintain high productivity than those who do not. In support of this assertion, Emmanuel (2011) opined that from when Nigeria got her independence till date, the industrial system of the country has been characterized by industrial disputes, crisis and unrest in it’s entirety because of lack of motivation.

Motivation according to Yalokwu (2002) is an inner state that activates or moves the individual.  Procter (2003) viewed motivation as enthusiasm for doing something. Strengthening this fact, Okeke (2003) perceived motivation as the perception, methods and activities used by management for the purpose of providing a climate that is conducive to the satisfaction of the various needs of the employees so that they may become satisfied, dedicated and effective task performers. From the above definitions, motivation can be seen as inducement, incentive, inspiration and encouragement given in order to incite an individual to action. In effect, if workers are provided with essential incentives such as pension rights, over time allowance promotion, medical facilities, annual leave, retirement benefits, all the necessary job securities and freedom of expression, there is the likelihood that the workers will work with happiness, become more productive and the industry will achieve its set goals.

Some Nigerian workers are striving beings, attempting to reach self actualization. Maslow’s theory which hinges on needs with self actualization at the apex implies very strong motivation to work. The opportunity to achieve self actualization should be present at work to make the job meaningful and motivating. The above theory suggested that motivation and opportunities for self actualization should be present at work to make it attractive for maximum output and growth of the industry. The question now is, have employers of labour taken cognizance of these as major preponderance in their industries. As noted earlier, lack of job satisfaction of workers leads to frustration and outright conflicts. Many employees feel dissatisfied with their jobs at one point or another; some employees leave their jobs for better opportunities while others choose to stay. Employees with low job satisfaction can negatively affect the company because they typically lack motivation, perform poorly and possess negative attitudes (Rose, 2008).

Furthermore, dissatisfaction of workers can also be as a result of work itself. According to Agba (2004), with the improved living standard, workers are no longer satisfied to have just a job and the usual fringe benefits. They need a career that expresses their interest, personality, abilities that harmonizes with their total life situation. On the contrary, most employers have failed to recognize these needs, the tools and experiences they provided do not enable workers to develop in their careers. High salaries, good working condition, health and dental insurance, retirement plans, stock purchasing programmes, reduced work hours, technological advancement; educational reimbursement programmes among other things might seem to be the necessary ingredients for individual happiness and fulfillment in the world of work. Despite these benefits, (where they are given) many employees at all levels appear to be dissatisfied and disillusioned with themselves, their works and their future.

From the foregoing, the underlying cause of dissatisfaction may not be in the pay packet or the time schedule, but in the work itself. Some jobs are unattractive and when due to some socio-economic pressure some workers find themselves there, dissatisfaction ensues. Obviously, most of the unrest that occur in industrial establishment may not only be due to misunderstanding between the employers and employees but due to lack of job satisfaction.  Workers job satisfaction is very pertinent for maximum productivity and the growth of the industry. Highlighting more on this, Truitt (2012) maintained that workers’ goals are always to have success in their careers so that they can perform their job better and in an efficient and effective manner.

In spite of some workers desire to be motivated, some workers do not deserve to be motivated due to poor work attitude. From the psychological point of view, this poor attitude to work and lack of devotion to duties are symptoms of faulty vocational choice. In other words they indicate that some time in the educational grooming of these workers, appropriate and adequate vocational guidance and counselling may not have been given for effective career development.  They may have simply picked up jobs into which they have no interest but rather to try and fit in. Aptitude and interest for the job are usually ignored, or if considered, are placed second to quick-money making attractions as determinants of career and vocational choice. Some workers are well paid and also enjoy all incentives but have problems on how to plan for retirement. Many of such workers exhibit unnecessary fear and anxiety. Workers also have problems of combining their work with domestic chores and other personal engagements. This is more so with working class women who are still battling with child bearing and rearing. Observing this fact, Javita (2009) argued that stress loads can be quite high amongst working mothers and this may often reflect in their relationship at home. For instance, working mother is stressed to reach work on time, send her child to school in time, feeding and dressing them, and to take care of her house properly. The above problems compound the workers’ adjustment and job output.

Justifying the fear of workers on retirement Ebede (2002) maintained that the first step towards preparing for retirement is to view it positively. Such positive perception according to Ebede enables the workers to accept it as a welcome transition from one phase of life to another. Agba (2003) on his own, stated that retirees often approach retirement with fear because of the hardship associated with it. In a similar view, Onuigbo (2004) stressed that workers are reluctant to retire when adequate preparation have not been made. They seek solace in fraudulent acts such as change of date of birth and alteration of implicating documents. But these workers obviously fail to appreciate the joy of retirement if properly planned with the aid of a counsellor.

Vocational counselling is expected to help people not only to choose their occupation or career but also to adjust in them. Unfortunately, organized counseling is found only in school settings. There is need therefore for counseling in industrial organizations in order to help workers adjust properly for greater efficiency and maximum productivity.

Statement of Problem

It is always the aim of every industry to achieve its set goals. Workers in the various industries equally aim to achieve job satisfaction.  Workers from literature have many problems. These include problems such as long working hours, exposure to hazards such as carbon monoxide, lack of job security, exploitation, and lack of good free medical care and delayed payment of salaries among others. Workers also manifest social problems at work place such as treating customers and colleagues in an inordinate manner. Some lack opportunity and information to embark on educational programmes that could help them to advance in their chosen vocation. Other workers may have chosen their career wrongly which may have led to occupational maladjustment and job dissatisfaction. These problems are hardly resolved by their employers.  These problems are the factors responsible for industrial unrest. Vocational counselling is one of the services that can ameliorate the problems of workers. Invariably, it appears that vocational counselling services are not readily available for Nigerian workers in industries in Enugu State. The problem of this study therefore is what are the problems and counselling needs of Nigerian industrial workers?

Purpose of the Study

            The main purpose of the study is to identify the problems and needs of workers in industries and how counseling could be employed to satisfy these needs.

Specifically, the study seeks to find out

The problems of workers in industries.

 The social counselling needs of workers in industries.

The educational counselling needs of workers in industries.

 The vocational counselling needs of workers in industries.

Significance of the study

The study has both theoretical and practical significance. Theoretically, the findings of the study will validate or invalidate Herzberg’s two factor theory and Maslow’s theory of motivation. In other words, the findings of the study will either approve or disapprove the relevance of the theories on which the study is anchored as it pertains to motivation and job satisfaction of workers in Enugu State.

Practically, the result of the study will be of great benefit to the employees, employers or management of industries, Nigerian economy industrial unions, and future researchers. The findings of this study when made available to employers in industries through seminars and workshops will be of immense benefit to the employees. This is because when their problems such as personal maladjustment, health challenges,  security adjustment, social, educational and vocational needs are handled by the managers,  like creating enabling environment that will help workers gain insight of themselves, relate well with colleagues, customers and acquire more skills through in-service training, it will pre-dispose them to greater occupational adjustment, job satisfaction and productivity.

The findings of the study will enlighten the employers/management on the need to ensure that workers salaries are paid as and when due and provide medical facilities among others. The findings will help the management of industries to indentify and satisfy their workers needs because when workers needs are understood and satisfied, the workers will be motivated to be more productive.

The Nigeria economy also stands to benefit from the data generated from the study. It is a common economic knowledge that the factors of production namely capital, entrepreneur or management labour and land have to work harmoniously to achieve the desired objectives. It therefore follows that when the needs of workers are identified and solved, the workers will be in the position to put in their best and thereby enhancing and promoting the growth of the economy.

Moreover, result of the study will be beneficial to industrial union. Generally, the relationship between labour and workers in Nigeria has not been rosy. A study that identified the needs of workers and proffers solutions to it will make management/worker relation more cordial with the attendant positive result in productivity ensuing from it.

Finally, the result of the study will also be of much benefit to other researchers who may want to carry out studies on the needs of workers in industries and other organizations in that it will add to existing resources on the topic.

Scope of the Study

            The geographical scope of the study covers some selected private industrial establishments in Enugu State namely Nigerian Breweries Plc, Nigerian Bottling Company and Innoson Technical and Industrial Companies Limited. The content scope focus on identifying the problems of workers’ social, educational and vocational in private industries in Enugu State and their need for counselling.

Research Questions

       The study will be guided by the following research questions.

What are the problems of workers in industries?

 What are the social counslling needs of workers in industries?

What are the educational counselling needs of workers in industries?

What are the vocational counselling needs of workers in industries?

Research Hypotheses

The following null hypotheses were formulated to guide the study and were tested at .05 level of significance.

  1. There is no significant difference between the mean scores of male and female workers in industries regarding their problems.

2. There is no significant difference between the mean scores of senior and junior staff of the industries regarding their educational counselling

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