Are We Too Hungry to See the Changing World of Work? 

Are We Too Hungry to See the Changing World of Work? 

Pardon my title, it is not my intention to be rude, and I will explain as we progress. 

Amidst the myriad challenges facing Nigeria, one remarkable phenomenon captures my interest – the exponential growth of startups and visionary founders in the marketplace. Statistics from 2021 reveal that tech startups in African nations have raised over $1 billion in capital, securing investments from more than 300 individual and institutional backers. This impressive figure represents a significant 60% surge compared to the funding raised between 2018 and 2020. 

Yet, paradoxically, employers still find themselves grappling with a persistent problem – the struggle to identify and nurture top-tier talent. Many lament the need to sift through numerous candidates, (as one CEO put it, I’ve had to kiss many frogs), investing substantial time and resources in training before unearthing the best fit. Some even resort to turning a blind eye and making do with whatever talent is readily available. 

If we fail to acknowledge this reality and its implications, we risk facing dire consequences akin to a burned-down kitchen. The undeniable truth is that the rapid growth of startups and their founders corresponds to a scarcity of skilled talents equipped to address the challenges of today and create solutions for tomorrow. 

Before I delve further into this issue, let us take a moment to reflect on the implications of this pressing concern. 

In our world (Nigeria and maybe some parts of Africa) majority of employers are daily grappling with the reality of our economy and its challenges, employers are dealing with the threat of employee-generated internal fraud some little, (A client of mine owned a resort, where the employees had their own POS machine and food items and sold their own supplies to clients before selling the employers own) some large, some to the tune of N30M monthly and some even more, Some institutions plagued with the woes and challenges of talent migration, whilst others have actively disengaged employees who are excited to trade their sleep hours for dollar and euro paying jobs in another time zone driven by economic needs and the perceived semblance of “hope” in it. 

With this reality, is this the right time to talk about the rapid changes in the world of African work? 

Let’s stir the pot and take it a step further… 

Given these realities, is this the right time to discuss the rapid changes in the African workplace? 

Let’s take it a step further… 

In the same pot of workplace challenges faced by founders and employers, how do we approach a conversation with a successful CEO born in the 60s, making 50 million Naira a week, that there is a chance he could be like his global counterparts who have extensive operations and revenue, worth $180B annually and presence in over 50 countries? How can we stress the importance of adapting to workplace changes for continued growth when the current setup seems to work well? 

Moreover, there are founders with substantial funding for brilliant solutions, visibly struggling with people management, and lacking the know-how to effectively lead their workplaces. But can we blame them? The previous generations didn’t leave behind many references on how to be better leaders or more effective founders. 

As we wrap our heads around the realities of these three generations whom I have surnamed as follows:  

  • The Resilient Builders (Old Generation, Parents, and Grandparents) ™ 
  • The Conscious Bridge (Late 30s, 40s, and Early 50s) ™ 
  • The Solution Economy aka Innovators (Founders Mid 30’s and below) ™ 

It is safe to say that the Resilient Builders™ (Old Generation, Parents, and Grandparents) have had a profound influence on the model adopted by The Conscious Bridge ™(Late 30s, 40s, and Early 50s) and the weary Solution Economy aka Innovators ™(Founders Mid 30’s and below) who have refused to accept the ways of old. It’s akin to a relay race analogy, where the old generation did an excellent job passing down their acquired belief systems to our parents and grandparents (The Resilient Builders). They, in turn, passed the baton to my generation (The Conscious Bridge), and though we didn’t fully embrace their ways, our struggles have shown some progress, but not a lot. 

Yet, the generation after my younger brother and the one after him (The Solution Economy Innovators) are refusing to accept the baton because there’s something about it that doesn’t align with their current line of sight, exposure, solution-based, and solution-driven mentality. In all three generations and revolutions, we can tell there is a gap that exists that needs to be filled, a gap that becomes more obvious and more glaring with each passing generation and each passing day.  

A gap that our solution generation is desperately trying to fill but with scarce luck as there are not a lot of references for the life they have come to know and embrace. This is bringing them to the same cycle of importing borrowed beliefs and systems and patterns and behaviours and values and culture, the same foundation our forefathers built up, the same foundation that has put our beautiful continent in the mess it is finding itself in. We cannot allow this to happen, there must be a systemic way to bridge this gap; There must be a methodical way to close this gap. 

We cannot continue to build half-baked institutions, we cannot continue to build enterprises that don’t have the foundations to last.  

We cannot continue to have our talents leave the shores of our land, because who will rebuild the broken walls of Africa? Who will take up the responsibility? Who will build a business model, business philosophies, theories and practical solutions for Africans by Africans? 

I’m sure you are wondering, just as I am, how we got here (kidding, I am not wondering). The goal of this blog is to raise our consciousness about the need to build and fortify our institutions, organizations, and workplaces for the future methodically and systematically. In this blog, we delve into the necessity of embracing change, even amidst adversity, and explore how it paves the way for progress, prosperity and sustainability. 

Let’s embark on this journey of understanding and building for a better future in the ever-evolving world of work. 

Till I come your way next time, let’s stay building. 

My name is Gloria Nnanke Essien 

And I am excited to collaborate with you to rebuild Africa’s broken walls 

Are you ready to join the conversation on Embracing Change in the Evolving World of Work for Africans? We want to hear your thoughts! Share your current reality with your workforce and contribute to the discussion. Your insights might just be featured in our next blog post. Feel free to counter or challenge everything you have read – a diversity of perspectives enriches the conversation. Share with your friends too, let us make this dialogue inclusive and empowering! 😊 

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