The purpose of this study was to ascertain the problems and counselling needs of workers for occupational adjustment in industries with a view to recommending ways of averting these problems and meeting these needs through counselling services. The study was guided by four research questions and three null hypotheses. Review of literature focused on the theoretical framework of the study, the problems and counseling needs of workers and industrial counseling. The study was carried out in three selected industries in Enugu State namely Nigerian Breweries, Nigerian Bottling Company and Innoson technical and industrial company. The population of the study was 1834. Out of the above population, a simple of 370 workers was studied. The instrument used for the collection of data was a questionnaire titled Industrial Workers Problems and Counselling Needs Questionnaire (IWPCNQ). The research questions were answered using mean and standard deviations while the hypotheses were tested using t-test statistics at .05 level of significance. The major findings of the study are that industrial workers in Enugu State have many problems, social counselling needs, educational counselling needs, and vocational counselling needs such as exposure to hazards, lack of free medical care and long working hours among others. Social counseling needs such as getting along well with work mates, expressing one’s self well in discussion especially in public, adjusting to problems arising from work mates among others. Educational counseling needs include pursuing further academic programs that will be of benefit to them, studying more effectively and improving their memory among others and vocational counseling needs such as being acquainted with current information in the place of work, getting informed of work security and job satisfaction among others. These problems and counselling needs were found through research to constitute major problems areas which affect workers productivity and output. It was also found out that these problems and needs militate against workers productivity and occupational adjustment of the workers. Finally, it was discovered that applying counseling services will go a long way in averting the problems and handling the needs of workers.
The educational implications of the findings were highlighted such as increasing the content areas of counselling education to take care of industrial counseling and organizing vocational counseling on regular basis for the workers. The major limitation of the study was outlined and suggestions for further studies made.
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.