BusinessDay
NigeriaDecides2023

Stemming Nigeria’s brain drain by growing local opportunities with global companies

While human migration has been happening since the dawn of time, the levels we’ve seen in this century are nothing short of alarming.
Also known as “human capital flight”, brain drain is the colloquial label slapped on the mass exodus of highly skilled individuals from their country of origin.

A new survey by the Ichikowitz Family Foundation of more than 4,500 young people in Africa, aged 18-24, has found that 52% of them are likely to consider emigrating in the next few years.

Their reasons are economic insecurity and scarce job opportunities. One young Nigerian, when asked, said that “90% of (my) friends want to leave”. Concerningly, this sentiment is not uncommon among Nigeria’s youth. If this worrying statistic becomes a reality, the hemorrhaging of human capital will result in a permanent skill deficit across the continent.

Nigeria’s talent pool is bursting with undiscovered talent
With 600,000 Nigerians graduating tertiary education every year, the nation has an untapped stockpile of young experts across IT, engineering, business, and management. These enthusiastic self-starters form part of a rapidly expanding national skills and talent pipeline capable of leading both domestic and international markets at scale.

The missing pieces of the puzzle are not only exposure to industry leading companies but a shift in their mindset towards building their careers locally. Young Nigerian talent are often enticed by industry-leading global companies to work abroad and don’t consider the opportunity and benefits of establishing operations within the country.
To overcome this, Nigeria must work to alter the local and international perception of our nation.

As home to over 58 million of Africa’s youth population, Nigeria is fertile ground for fast-paced tech-focused industries. Not only are work ethic and commitment to the job deeply embedded values in Nigerian society, but the nation is home to the largest population of English speakers in Africa (over 79 million).

This lends itself perfectly to evolving Global Business Services (GBS) and Business Processing Outsourcing(BPO) trends, as increasingly, GBS and BPO operators and buyers want to explore different delivery locations to incorporate alternative anglophone nations.

This reflects their desire to move away from the traditional English-speaking juggernauts, such as India and the Philippines. This shift in attitude represents a prime opportunity for Nigeria and TekExperts wants to make this a reality.

Read also: Youths seek laws to promote export, taxes on fossil fuel companies

Tek Experts has first hand experience establishing and growing our tech services and support business in Nigeria

At Tek Experts, we actively promote Nigeria as a competitive location for global companies to meet their technical talent needs. We believe this is crucial to reversing the brain drain epidemic plaguing the nation.

Our Lagos office now counts on over 1,800technical experts sourced locally to service and support our regional and global clients.

We’ve dedicated a lot of time and effort to dispelling misconceptions held by many corporate decision makers around Nigeria’s political stability, infrastructure, and talent.
We do this by focusing on the three pertinent reasons why global organizations should consider Nigerian talent to deliver IT outsourcing services:

1. How Nigeria’s tech capabilities can address the global talent shortage.
2. Nigeria’s meteoricrise as a dynamic outsourcing and offshoring location.
3. Sharing our personal success stories.

Addressing the Global Talent Shortage
The great resignation combined with the 4th industrial revolution blew the modern job market wide open, and we have seen how digital skills have fallen into the cracks. This is further exacerbated by the rise of remote or location-agnostic positions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the Future Workforce Report 2022 published by Upwork, a global freelancing platform, in the US alone, 60% of hiring managers are struggling to find the quality talent needed to fill roles and, as a result, are exploring creative ways to tackle the shortage. The solution lies in widening their radar to consider previously untapped markets like Nigeria.

Nigeria as a prime outsourcing location
Africa is emerging as the new frontier for the GBS and BPO industry and Nigeria ranks within the top 7 African destinations based on market size. This nascent sector, noted for its multitalented youth workers armed with the latest technical aptitudes and diverse language capabilities, is continuing to gain interest from leading companies around the world.

This interest is steadily accelerating, as tech service providers like us, work to dispel the common misconceptions held by global corporations around Africa, changing their perception so they see the continent as the incredible opportunity that it is.

Sharing our success
Tek Experts Nigeria has fought for the success of Nigerians both individually and as a country. Our company invests heavily in our employees’ continuous development through training initiatives run by our sister company, elev8.

This has had an enormous impact on the lives of our employees who can forge ahead in their careers confidently, secure in the knowledge that they have a toolkit of valuable and transferable skills.

Success continued
We believe in opportunities for all and have never limited our focus solely to those already in employment.elev8 has partnered with Microsoft and together they are developing local talent from non-traditional tech backgrounds through digital skilling initiatives and programs.

These programs help create a pipeline of skilled talent for technical hiring opportunities at Tek Experts Nigeria as well as any other national or international companies looking to scale their technical operations. It is our mission to bridge the digital skills gaps that lead to life-changing employment opportunities.

Our Collective Responsibility
Outsourcing IT support and services to Africa is not only economically attractive for global organizations, but it also provides them with passionate, diverse, and dynamic talent who are highly skilled, and driven to succeed.

But the responsibility isn’t theirs alone. To prevent catastrophic brain drain, leadership teams across Africa must not only promote the advantages of local investment on an international scale but improve job opportunities so that Nigerian talent doesn’t want to look elsewhere.

For more information on Tek Experts, and to attend our upcoming webinar, ‘Is Africa the next global IT outsourcing hub’, on September 14, please visit https://www.tek-experts.com/insights/tsia-tek-experts-webinar-registration.

The author, Olugbolahan Olusanya, is the Country Manager of Tek Experts Nigeria, global provider of tech support services.

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