In a 2012 survey of African CEOs by PwC, a consulting firm, CEOs said that experienced workers are hard to come by. Three-quarters of them said shortage of talent is limiting growth and profitability. As a result, recruiting and retaining talent is top on their agenda. Finding talent is one half of the problem solved; 85 percent plan to focus on managing talent in the next one year.
Part of the strategy will involve engaging social networks. Many CEOs are active on social networks like LinkedIn, a professional social network. Social networks are becoming a tool for building contacts, advertising openings, recruiting talent. Sola David-Borha, CEO of Stanbic IBTC Bank, files the CV of possible hires. “You never know when you are going to need them, so having a database of very good skill sets is a valuable resource.”
Oracle, a database company, reckons that increased usage of social networks is driving businesses to reach high-quality candidates “faster and at a lower cost … than traditional recruiting methods”. Nevertheless, hiring via social media networks is an extension and enhancement of a company’s recruitment strategy. For companies looking for innovative employees, social recruiting has added benefits: frequent users of social networks are “early adopters” of innovative products or services.
In Africa, hiring talent comes at a premium. Over half of CEOs surveyed by PwC confirmed that expenses for hiring talent increased beyond their expectations since 2011. Poaching poorly-trained and inexperienced managers can be expensive.
Jobberman, an online recruiting company, in a survey for the first quarter of 2012, found that most employed Nigerians are graduates of science and engineering. Graduates of law and estate management are a minority. Most employed Nigerians have a Bachelor’s degree and make one-third of highest earners. Close to half of highest paid graduates have Master’s, though they account for 14 percent of employed Nigerians. Teachers earn the least while those in the oil and gas sector earn the most.
Through social networks, companies can fish from the talent pool in the Diaspora. There are 978,164 Nigerians on the network, according to SocialBakers, a social media analytics company, but the penetration of LinkedIn is low (0.64 percent).
Social recruiting is bridging the “location mismatch” in the global market for talent. Accenture, a consultancy, reckons that companies have to learn how to find talent armed with STEM skills, i.e., advanced knowledge of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Accenture sees “real opportunity for new ‘labour market intermediaries’ (LMIs) to intercede in global labour markets”. Social recruiting networks let companies get information about and access to talent beyond their locality.
In an emerging market like Nigeria, solving the information and access problem will require new thinking. Nigeria’s population is young, internet penetration is growing – there are 48,366,179 internet users, but most are accessing the internet for the first time via mobile phones. According to ABIresearch, a technology and intelligence company, 2G technology accounts for 62.7 percent of mobile phones on the continent. 2.5G and 3G account for 27 percent and 11 percent, respectively. As mobile data grows cheap, Android smartphones may require that recruiters adopt a different approach.