One element at the core of the World Bank’s World Development Report 2019 “The Changing Nature of Work”, is the human capital index, which measures a nations preparedness for the future of work, and how much it has developed the needed human capital, and, interestingly, Andela had this at the core of its mission.
The recent news of the layoffs of over 400 software developers came as a shock to many, it wasn’t anticipated neither was such news expected at a time when the number of openings for software engineers is predicted to increase by 12.5%. Understandably, the decision was one that mattered to the survival of Andela as a business entity, but what is not immediately obvious is the long term impact of this decision, I will be looking at the details shortly.
Before I go into the details, let’s understand the founding model Andela started with, Andela was actually an outlier in human capital development as they came up with a very bold ambition of training software engineers on the African continent, but what is most interesting is actually the condition under which learners will have to train, it was completely out of anything ever seen on the continent, that learners will not only be given the chance of becoming their best in the field of technology but while they learn, will also be paid for actually learning. To understand why this was ingenious and as well necessary in the African context look at my previously published article.
Now coming to what will be lost by this move. Because of the Andela model, many African youths saw the opportunity in acquiring technological skills are where motivated to do so, and many spent their time and resources to equip themselves with this skills — many did this with the hope of one day being accepted into the Andela fellowship. But now it’s gone.
The layoff has also painted a picture suggesting that all the hype and stats on the growing technology jobs may not be so. And the danger of this is that it will send negative energy that can interrupt the current trends being experienced on the continent, of young people aggressively pursuing careers in technology.
Something could have been done so this never happened, this is what the governments should have nipped in the bud before it ever happened.
The training of human capital as analyzed in the World Bank’s Report is a responsibility first of the government because they understand the economic importance of doing otherwise — having an ill-equipped workforce. The government is expected to be more proactive and come in when they see entities such as Andela taking the lead in training and equipping her human capital, we can all see that the governments of the affected nations failed in this regard.
Yes, it is not yet too late for a reasonable and responsible government to act — the door is still open. I only hope that the future of work doesn’t meet us unprepared.