Andela has announced that it will be laying off 400 junior engineers across Nigeria, Kenya and Uganda, in spite of its first-time-released income numbers indicating its revenue will exceed $50m for 2019.
The CEO of the Africa-focused breeding ground for super-talented software developers and engineers, Jeremy Johnson, made this known to Techcrunch in a recent discussion.
A company release hinted at the reason for the layoff, stating that the 400 junior staff are being cut off “due to market demand for more senior engineering talent.”
“We’ve seen shifts in the market and what our customers are looking for…toward more experienced engineers,” Techcrunch quotes Johnson as saying over a call.
Andela has offices in New York and five African countries: Nigeria, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, and Egypt. Launched in 2014, the startup currently has a client-base spanning over 200 companies around the globe that pay big bucks for the African talents honed by Andela.
Andela has also raised up to $181m in VC from investors that include “The Mark Zuckerberg”, and one of its founders is Nigeria’s young tech commando, Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, who has since exited the company.
The Andela way of operation is such that a number of promising developers are selected each year who come on staff for a salary (similar to a management consulting firm). The recruits are encouraged to continue working and living in their home markets in Africa.
Absent the imminent layoff, Andela boasts over 1500 engineers on board.
While it is almost natural to associate staff layoffs with distressed finances in business, the CEO said the situation, in this case, is more about a misconception on their part as per the needs of the market.
“We’re actually actively and intensely growing, the mid and senior developer populations and next year we’re going to bring in 500 more developers,” he said.
“We’ve hired more junior developers than we are able to place in remote roles.”
Andela’s CEO also disclosed that the departing junior engineers will be rewarded with reasonable severance packages and connected to new opportunities. Andela is understood to be working with partners, CcHub and iHub for the latter purpose.