Technology has changed many things about the jobs market: how we search for jobs and talent, sift through candidates and assess for cultural fit, and the pool of employment opportunities.
As the internet becomes more available in Africa, the opportunity for technology to influence the business of recruitment increases.
The continent’s working age population is expected to grow by 450 million people by 2035; sub Saharan Africa is projected to have the largest workforce by that year, larger than China’s. Africa needs 12 – 15 million jobs annually to match its expanding labor force.
These projections excite Clemens Weitz, and validate his recent strategic move to own the career advisory industry across sub Saharan Africa.
Weitz is the CEO of Ringier One Africa Media (ROAM) which owns Jobberman, the Nigerian recruitment and human resources company, and about 10 other companies.
In September, Jobberman acquired NG Careers in a deal that unites two of Nigeria’s most notable internet-based recruitment agencies. The terms are undisclosed but Weitz confirms it was a “100% acquisition.”
The plan is for both companies to become one in the near future, combining Jobberman’s strengths in technology with NG Careers’ prowess with search engine optimization (SEO), Weitz tells TechCabal.
“What we are doing with this acquisition is to consolidate the job search entry points for Nigerians so that we are able to bring our technology to more people faster,” he says.
The population projections make a good case for the consolidation but how much scope is there for innovation in the recruitment space? There are now numerous avenues for individuals and companies to connect – from LinkedIn Jobs and Stack Overflow Jobs, to even having a well curated Twitter or Instagram timeline.
Weitz says Jobberman’s advantage is in having distinct products tailored to the African market at a scale that cannot be satisfied by global platforms.
“I don’t believe that international one-size-fits-all solutions are a good fit for African markets and employers,” he says.
The need for a narrower focus when thinking about recruitment in Africa, Weitz says, is a consequence of diverse realities across economies.
Where about 5 people apply to one position in Switzerland, 2400 people apply to one position in Africa according to Jobberman’s data.
“The number one feedback from employers is that they are not finding the right candidates. At the same time, they are flooded with a tsunami of applications. We’ve seen in our data that only 10% of candidates are remotely qualified for positions they apply to,” Weitz says.
Digitization in Africa is growing but it’ll take some time to establish trust and adoption. There is still some bias for employers and job seekers to overcome to adopt digital recruitment solutions.
When Jobberman was founded in 2009, recruitment technology was merely job listing. Today, that field includes applicant tracking systems and using data science for skills and personality assessment.
These are the features that enable a company to ably sift through many applications to get the best without leaving anyone behind.
ROAM Africa acquired Jobberman in 2012 to build on the work of the company’s founders who have all exited the business. Hilda Kabushenga Kragha, an ex-McKinsey consultant, had been the CEO of Jobberman for 18 months until she became the managing director of ROAM’s Jobs across Africa this October.
Jobberman and the now absorbed NG Careers will be powered by ROAM’s developer team of about 50 engineers in South Africa, Weitz says. These engineers are responsible for developing a stack of over 600 skills assessment tests for different levels of experience, personality assessments and customised solutions for employers and talents.
“We don’t have algorithms that judge,” Weitz clarifies, stating that their algorithms “basically work on simple objective predictors like years of experience in an industry.”
Ringier Africa and One Africa Media merged in November 2017 to bring about 11 companies in West and East Africa under one roof. The list includes Chekki, the vehicle sales site, and Brighter Monday, Kenya’s version of Jobberman.
Wetiz says their focus is on the largest economies in Africa and they evaluate what business model makes sense on two metrics: where they can establish top-of-mind positions for buyers and sellers, and where they can monetize properly.
The 40% unemployment rate in Nigeria signals the potential appeal of a stronger Jobberman. After the acquisition, the company now reaches over 1 million Nigerians thanks to the increased visibility that comes from NG Careers’ SEO capabilities built over nine years of operations.
Weitz expects this fusion to produce stronger performance on all fronts – on revenue and customer satisfaction.