Inevitably, the world will look to Africa and Nigeria, specifically for its workforce. In the next 30 years, more than half of the global population growth will happen in Africa. 60% of Africans are under the age of 25 and Nigeria is on track to being the third most populous country in the world.
However, as the youth population increases in Nigeria, so does the youth unemployment rate, which has almost doubled in two years from 19% in January 2016 to 36.5% in July 2018.
Why is the youth unemployment rate so high?
There are too many people struggling for few jobs in traditional industries like civil service, banking and agriculture. For some context, in May this year, over 800,000 people applied for 3,200 jobs in the Nigerian Customs Service. Existing industries simply aren’t growing fast enough to provide enough jobs for the growing youth population.
Tech – A Saviour of The Youth?
In this bleak scenario, the technology sector has become one of the highest-employing industries for university graduates. Stutern’s 2018 Nigerian Graduate Report shows that technology companies hired over 10% of the fresh graduates in its survey. For follow-on jobs, the technology sector remains one of the highest employers at 11.12%. The industry is rivaled only by banking and financial services, media and education industries. All of which are industries moving towards technology-enabled business models that require technical skills and know-how.
Gigson, a technology jobs platform by Nigerian software development company Devcenter, has seen a 600% increase in jobs posted since launch in late 2016. The company says its platform has filled roles for almost 3,000 job openings.
The Nigerian technology industry has grown in leaps and bounds over the last ten years. In 2018, Nigerian technology companies raised over US$ 306 Million in funding, an increase of 167% from 2017. Companies like Andela, Flutterwave and Kobo360 have attained valuations of over US$ 100 million. As these companies expand and more startups are created, they need to hire talent to build engineering, design, marketing, support and sales teams.
A lot of tech companies have problems finding the right talent because applicants don’t have the required skill set or relevant experience working in the technology industry. Positions remain open for extended periods because it’s hard to find the right talent.
What skills do they want?
The most sought after skills are technical skills at management levels. Software developers are in high demand as many companies struggle to fill engineering roles. Some highly skilled developers eventually work for two or more companies as a result. Other skills in demand are digital marketing, project management, design, sales, customer support and people operations.
The opportunity: To Build a talent pipeline
The unique problem of tech jobs growing faster than they can be filled presents a unique skill gap. Several Nigerian organisations are working on getting potential applicants the skills and practical experience to fill these jobs. They typically involve a fixed duration for training and placement in established technology companies at the end of these training programmes.
These companies also provide workspaces with stable internet access and electricity for their students.
The Result: Nigeria to the World 🌎
Nigerian startups are not the only employers of Nigerian technology talent. Software development, design and other technology talents from Nigeria have become globally sought after. Companies like InVision, Microsoft, Booking.com and Google currently employ Nigerian expertise to join their global teams. In May this year, Microsoft opened one of its African Development Centres in Lagos, hiring 25 developers to join its Cognition and Azure teams. Microsoft’s goal is to scale this number to 500 developers by 2023.
Nigeria has mad tech talent. Unbelievable!
— Edem Kumodzi 🇬🇭🇹🇬 (@edemkumodzi) August 17, 2019
Andela trains and mentors software engineers in its numerous boot camps. The company started in Lagos in 2014 and has hired 1,100 engineers across its campuses in Africa and matched them with software development teams at GitHub, Cloudflare, Pluralsight and Headspace.
A lot of people want to get into the tech industry and acquire the skills they need. The problem is that they usually don’t know where to start. The options can be quite overwhelming. Some of the brightest stars in Nigeria have put together resources to guide beginners in different fields.
Are you looking to hire talent for your company or a Nigerian looking to get into tech? These programmes match potential recruits with technology jobs.