While the tech skills gap in sub-Saharan Africa still plagues enterprises, a growing number of online gig platforms is helping IT managers find the tech talent they need.
These online gig platforms help enterprises connect to an expanding pool of tech-savvy workers, as online tech education companies and a wide range of university and coding academies educate a new generation of tech talent in sub-Saharan Africa.
“African coders use multiple formal and informal education channels to gain skills and access to well-paying jobs,” according to a recent Google report. “The expanding ecosystem has created many opportunities for female coders, especially in the leading countries.”
There were 700,000 software developers across Africa by the end of last year, mostly in South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Egypt, and Morocco, according to the report.
Meanwhile, a number of tech talent outsourcing platforms have popped up in Africa over the last several years. These platforms have offered an alternative to global platforms such as Upwork, Fiverr and Freelancer for African talent. Companies can benefit from these platforms as they offer inroads to a geographically dispersed talent pool that was not readily accessible just a few years ago.
The development of a wide range of digital tools, including diverse mobile services, has helped forge links between employers and a growing talent pool, according to a recent MasterCard report.
“For the average gig worker, a mobile phone becomes the most effective means of entering this sector digitally, paving the way for an entry into the workforce. In addition, it enables youth to utilise economic opportunities, become entrepreneurs, and do flexi-work,” said Amnah Ajmal, an executive vice president for MasterCard in the Middle East and Africa, in the report.
She said that the result is not just improved work-life balance but improved living standards as access to gigs provides a stable income. Cross-border hiring is also aided through these platforms, ensuring that talent spread is even across the continent.
Here are some top tech talent gig platforms in Africa:
Year Founded: 2017
Headquarters: Lagos, Nigeria
Founder: Femi Taiwo
What they do: Terawork aims to give business executives stable and reliable professionals to build their business in Africa. Formed after the founder was disappointed by a freelancer, it vets the professionals who want to join the platform. The platform offers features such as escrow services, work management tools, digital contracts, real-time chat and digital payments.
Competitors include: Andela
IT talent available: Digital marketers, software engineers
Why they’re a top tech gig platform company: Terawork has carved itself a niche in Nigeria as one of the biggest gig and freelance platforms. It has over 15,000 people on the platform, according to the company. The site offers local and international multi-currency options to ensure gig workers are paid as per their preference.
Year Founded: 2016
Founder: Amadou Daffe
What they do: Gebeya began as a platform to hire software developers in Africa. Its premise is that there is an excellent pool of quality software engineers, but they do not have the visibility to get jobs. Also, the SME market in Africa cannot afford very senior, expensive engineers and hence Gebeya focuses on growing a marketplace to help Africa’s small and medium-size businesses hire middle-level engineers. The platform has evolved to include other specialisations such as artificial intelligence, business developers, and digital marketers, among others.
Competitors include: Andela, Tunga
IT talent available: Software developers, AI engineers, project managers, graphic designers
Why they’re a top tech gig platform: Apart from having a mobile application to aid in on-the-go hiring, the company is implementing an AI engine that will match up jobs with relevant talent. According to the company, this will speed up the hiring of talent from Arica.
Year Founded: 2015
Headquarters: Kampala, Uganda
Founder: Ernesto Spruyt
What they do: Tunga focuses on training and placing software engineers to work with Europe’s small and medium-size enterprises. However, CEO Spruyt told CIO Africa that “We regularly work for African customers too.”
The company offers automated training modules on its platform, where skills are assessed. For successful candidates, Tunga matches them up with companies where work is conducted remotely. The founder believes that by giving jobs to African talent and enabling them to work remotely, they can foster the growth of software engineering in Africa.
Competitors include: Andela, Gebeya
Gigs available: Software engineering, front-end and back-end developers
Why they’re a top tech gig platform company: Tunga provides jobs for talent in Africa and trains them to give businesses well-polished options. The gig workers are always vetted to offer quality to clients. Gig workers can also access high-paying jobs in Europe as well as local offers. It has over 400 developers in its network.
Year Founded: 2016
Co-Founders: Seun Awoyele, Akinola Falomo
What they do: Gigson, a platform powered by Devcenter, is a tech talent outsourcing business aiming to promote quality talent in Africa for organisations that seek them. It says that it provides quality tech talent to work in fields such as software development and product design. According to the founders, the platform already has nearly 10,000 workers with tech skills from across Africa.
Competitors include: Gebeya, Andela
IT talent available: Software engineers, web and mobile development, product design and digital marketing.
Why they’re a top tech gig platform company: Devcenter offers a personalised experience in finding the best talent for organisations. According to the company, they work closely with clients to find the best IT talent outsourcing options for them. It has provided tech talent to companies such as Trove, Riby Finance and Gladepay.
Year Founded: 2014
Co-Founders: Brice Steven Nkengsa, Christina Sass, Ian Carnevale, Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, Jeremy Johnson, Nadayar Enegesi
What they do: Andela is a high-profile tech outsourcing company founded in Africa. Over the past few years, it has changed its model to focus on mid- and senior-level tech talent. The company has already raised a total of US$181 million, according to media reports. “We do place engineers on teams in countries outside of the USA, including African-based companies,” a company representative said.
Competitors include: Gebeya, Tunga, Devcenter
Gigs available: Mid- and senior-level coders
Why they’re a top tech gig platform company: Andela claims it has a data-driven engine powered by proprietary technology that helps firms hire tech talent across Africa. The platform also vets its engineers through coding challenges, technical interviews and English proficiency tests to ensure high-quality talent on its platform.
Code of Africa
Year Founded: 2019
Co-Founders: Anja Schloesser, Axel Kuhlmann
What they do: The company provides global and especially DACH (Germany, Austria and Switzerland) clients with East African IT talent. With a developer-as-a-service system, the company offers workers for businesses software development, mobile and web application development, API integration, cloud infrastructure and big data. The company says it constantly recruits quality talent across Africa and can serve African-based clients.
Competitors include: Tunga, Gebeya
IT talent available: software developers, mobile and web application developers, cloud infrastructure engineers.
Why they’re a top tech gig platform company: The company says it offers top-quality talent from East Africa, trained and vetted to provide world-class IT and engineering services.