In 2014, when we started Andela, the concept of remote work was well known in the engineering world, but rarely practiced. The perception was that in order to do collaborative work, you had to be around other people five days a week. Fast forward seven years and one viral catastrophe, it’s become obvious that not embracing remote in some capacity — and therefore constraining hiring to twenty miles from a company’s physical offices — is irresponsible. The challenge: how do you hire the right people when you have the whole world to choose from?
As soon as you open global hiring, all of a sudden you get 10x the applicants, but companies don’t have the systems to source the right candidates, assess them properly, and navigate global compliance and labor laws. In short, global hiring in 2021 is an obviously good idea, but complicated to do well on your own.
Engineers encounter similar challenges. How do you stand out in a pool of thousands, especially if your resume doesn’t include globally recognized brands? People are eager to work with top companies without needing to leave their home, let alone their country. Driven, talented people want to have the best of both worlds – professional growth in their careers but also the freedom and flexibility to live life on their terms.
It’s for exactly these reasons that Andela is growing faster than we ever have before, and that we decided to raise a $200M Series E, led by Softbank, in order to reshape how companies find and hire the world’s best technical talent.
For those just joining the conversation, Andela is a marketplace for remote technical talent. That’s different from where we started. We began training junior developers in Lagos, Nigeria, and cities across Africa, and placing them with primarily early-stage companies in the US. In doing so, we built the foundation for Andela in an environment where we had to do far more than connect supply and demand — we had to develop trust and ensure quality and consistency across cultures and continents.
For instance, how do you assess not just for current skills but also for learning ability and future potential? How do you measure soft skills and ability to integrate with a team for people who are one year out of school? How do you help companies learn how to manage remote, junior engineers from a continent they’ve never been to? If we didn’t do any of these things well, the entire system would have broken. Our early focus on developing high-potential junior talent forced us to learn at an accelerated rate, and as we expanded to more experienced talent globally, we were already well prepared — in some cases over prepared — for the task.
The Andela network represents engineers from more than 80 countries and six continents. Through Andela, thousands of engineers have been placed with leading technology companies including Github, Cloudflare and ViacomCBS. Our ability to evaluate technical and soft skills of engineers, and match them with the teams they’ll be most successful in, has resulted in a 96% successful placement rate. And while we are a marketplace, we’re very different from a traditional gig platform. The average Andela engineer spends 18 months on an engagement.
We started Andela in 2014 because we believe that brilliance is evenly distributed, but artificially constrained by borders, real and imagined. We are doing more to reduce those barriers today than ever before. By the end of this year, we will have engineers from more than 100 countries working with some of the best companies in the world — and on average, earning 64% more than they did in their previous job. By the end of next year, it will feel normal that the best engineer on your team is from somewhere you haven’t been to.
In the future, global hiring will be the default position. It will be faster, easier, and more effective to hire globally through Andela than it is for companies to hire locally today. As a result, companies will have access to better talent, and talent will have access to more compelling roles – and race, gender, and nationality will become less deterministic of opportunity.