“Andela is solving the global technical talent shortage by building distributed engineering teams with Africa’s top software developers. In four years, Andela has hired over 1,000 software engineers out of more than 140,000 applicants and became known as the “Best Place to Work in Africa,” with tech campuses in Lagos, Nairobi, Kampala and Kigali.”
Last week, Andela announced the departure of 420 junior engineers, with plans to hire additional 700 experienced engineers. In the press release, Jeremy Johnson, Andela co-founder and CEO says:
“As the talent world has evolved, we have as well, and over the past few years it’s become increasingly clear that the world needs what Andela provides: high-quality engineering-as-a-service. It has also become clear, however, that the majority of the demand is for more experienced talent, and to keep up with it, we need to grow our senior talent base even faster.
“This shift in demand also means that we now have more junior talent than we are able to place. This is a challenge for the business, and for these junior engineers who want, and deserve, authentic work experiences that we are not able to provide.”
Andela, having reached an inflection point and the need to grow faster, made a cut of 420 engineers, citing unequal opportunities, and the need to meet market demands, as the major reasons.
Now, let’s take Andela, as a microcosm of the national education system. Of course, there’s a whole lot of differences, but we can still do some juxtapositions here.
Government funds education, so graduates can improve the macro economy, by increasing productivity. Productivity is a vital source of economic growth and global competitiveness. A country’s ability to improve its standard of living, depends almost completely on its ability to raise its output per worker.
One of the arguments against the Nigerian education sector, is that they do not churn out the right talent. While this is very correct, but here, we see an educational firm, with a global market, producing the right talent, yet limited by the diminishing returns of marginal productivity. For a quick reminder, the law of diminishing marginal returns, states that when an advantage is gained in a factor of production, the marginal productivity will typically diminish, as production increases. On a macro level, this implies that, even if the Nigeria education system, churns out the right talents, without creating an economic opportunity for them, we will continue to experience the same problem.
Obviously, Nigeria has crossed the productivity threshold a long time ago, where an increase in labour force, can no longer bring the desired increase in economic productivity. When productivity fails to grow significantly, it confines potential gains in wages, corporate profits and living standards. The resulting effects are underemployment, talent exodus, increase in the cost of education, etc.
Except the government, corporate organization, create an eco-structure, which can continue to absorb the increasing number of graduates, while at the same time, funding education, it will be difficult to make giant economic strides.