Remote Work Connects Hard-to-Fill Engineering Jobs With Talent From Emerging Markets – PYMNTS.com

Pandemic-related lockdowns and stay-at-home orders have dramatically changed how employees work, leading to a boom in remote and flexible working arrangements across industries worldwide.
This rapid shift to remote working is shaping the post-pandemic workforce to the extent that companies requiring in-office work will lose out on the best talent on the market.
“For companies that are not open to remote work, it’s going to be extremely hard in the next few years to stay competitive and get the best talent,” Mike Ndimurukundo, managing director at Andela Rwanda, told PYMNTS in an interview.
But long before remote work became mainstream, the software developer training and outsourcing company, founded in 2014, was already capitalizing on the growing trend to connect vetted, skilled talent in emerging markets to global opportunities.
“Andela was built as a remote-first company developing talents in Africa and placing them with [global] companies, [and] that helped us adapt and expand [over the years],” Ndimurukundo explained.
Today, the “remote-first” company has grown from an Africa-focused platform operating in a handful of countries — Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Egypt and Ghana — to a global talent network with remote engineering workers in 90-plus countries across six continents.
Related news: Nigeria-Based Andela Launches Platform to Power Customized Work
With remote work gaining traction around the world, the outsourcing firm recently launched a new platform to power customized work and make the hiring and matching experience as seamless as possible for both candidates — which now includes designers, product managers and data talent — and recruiters alike.
The launch comes on the heels of a $200 million Series E funding round last year that valued the company at $1.5 billion.
Read more: Andela Unicorn Status Increases Buzz Around Africa’s Startup Scene
The new platform uses machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) to better match employers with talent based on needs, location and time zones, while significantly reducing the time it takes to complete the process from about two weeks to just 48 hours.
According to Ndimurukundo, the firm understands that there’s a lot at stake for companies. Since wasting time stuck in a long hiring process is not helpful, Andela helps those companies get the right talent quickly, letting them dedicate more time to business growth and development.
African Developers Lead Workplace Revolution
In emerging markets like Africa, the lack of infrastructure and technology development has held the continent back for many years. However, there has been significant improvement in recent years with the boom in smartphone adoption and internet use across many African countries.
That easy access to internet-connected devices has helped Africa-based developers hone their skills and prepare for roles in global multinational businesses, Ndimurukundo said, adding that it has led to a growing Andela Learning Community (ALC) network of over 175,000 technologists today.
“Once you’re self-taught, the next thing is to then connect and get the opportunities, [and] what we’re seeing is that people who are leveling up and joining our network are getting connected to [these] opportunities,” he said.
He also noted that Andela is not oblivious to the fact that remote work has exposed businesses and their employees to growing security risks and a surge in identity fraud since the onset of the pandemic. It’s the reason why they help clients and workers safeguard their virtual presence by building tools into their systems and promoting cybersecurity awareness, best practices and procedures.
“As we connect talent to these opportunities, we would be failing if we’re just throwing them out there and exposing them [to all sorts of risks],” he remarked.
Eliminating Digital Borders
Moving forward, Ndimurukundo said the one thing that needs to change in order for the digital opportunities inherent in the continent to reach their full potential is the willingness at the government level to enact policies that enable Africa to function as a common market.
This will mean solutions built in Rwanda are not limited to that country alone, but can be accessed across the entire region.
Eliminating these digital borders will open up the continent to more opportunities and unlock its “massive opportunities,” he remarked, boosting the scaling prospects of African technology startups.
There also needs to be an overhaul of the education system, he continued, with policy leaders working hand-in-hand with tech companies that understand the needs on the market to ensure that the talent joining the global marketplace is equipped with the right skill set for the jobs available.
But even though there is a long way to go to completely solve the education gap, Ndimurukundo referenced the number of African companies that made it into Y Combinator’s latest batch, W22 — the first time an African country, Nigeria, appeared in the top three countries represented with 18 startups — as an indication that the continent is on the right track.
To get it right, equipping the younger generation with the right skills cannot wait till a certain age. “We need to start early so that by the time they [are ready for employment], they’ve been building in their little ecosystems and circles, and we can build on that to level them up,” he said.
 
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