Tag Archives: Work

Africa and the Future of Work: Understanding the Gig Economy – Part 1.

South African telecoms firm, MTN, on Friday sacked 280 of its employees in Nigeria, in a major job cut that affected about 15% of the company’s entire Nigerian workforce. Those affected by the move include some 200 permanent employees and about 80 contract staff across various cadres, ranging from new graduates to senior managers.

Many of those sacked spent up to 15 years with the company having joined MTN as it opened its business in Nigeria in 2001. Our sources said affected workers were given a dismal severance of 75% of their gross monthly income multiplied by the number of years with the company.

That was the news as seen on Nairaland Website on 2 May, 2017.

And many more of this is coming. Why? Work is changing. The world is getting to a point where permanence of employment is an illusion. Organizations are outsourcing on a large scale. It’s a give me what I want now. I pay you. You go system.

Well, let’s get into understanding what this gig thing is.

What is the gig economy?

This is what Investopedia website explains the gig economy as:

In a gig economy, temporary, flexible jobs are commonplace and companies tend toward hiring independent contractors and freelancers instead of full-time employees. A gig economy undermines the traditional economy of full-time workers who rarely change positions and instead focus on a lifetime career.

That’s it! It use to be that you get into an organization, grow, retire or maybe die there. When you are done, your kids come in if they want to. That is changing. Even if you have that due to family business structuring, the change is coming so fast.

Reasons for the gig economy.

I think it’s just simple. Companies have come to realise they can do more with less long term staff strength. There’s effective cost management in outsourcing jobs.

It’s clear there are better people who can do what you are doing at a cheaper rate. So, why should we keep you? they ask…

Let’s not stop there. Employees too want a more flexible lifestyle. You want to do your work from the confines of your bedroom without showing up in the office. This is another great factor driving the gigism of the economy.

So, it’s a reaction between the thirst and dynamics of employees, employers and the economic forces. Whether it is balanced is a course for another day.

The Pros!

More Flexibility: I use the WordPress app to do all the work I need to do online. From research to first draft from vague idea to refining the draft to more editing (photo editing and…) to final uploading anywhere I find myself. This is a plus for the gig economy.

Access to more employment opportunities: Google Fiverr or jobberman.com or jobmag.com… You’ll find lots of jobs available with limited applicants. If fired today, it’s only by choice to be jobless in the next 12hrs.

More money:  This is also true of you know what you want. You can have two or more jobs without interference. What’s the translation in dollars or Rand?

Less computing expenses: Source of power might be the only reason you move. If you can work from anywhere, why move?

It carters more to the creative worker: Those who are art inclined folks – she draws, into music, photography, fashion designing… – are given that space to express themselves. So, they enjoy the flow.

The Cons!

No benefits apart from your pay: The 401k system or whatever your ststa calls it, might not functional. Although, I saw recently how Uber is making retirement plans for it’s staff. But how many organization will do that? It means you have to plan with your salary.

(For government) Taxes might be difficult to track: Very true. Fintechs are making easier to pay and be paid for service rendered. How will government receive taxes?


High levels of isolation: And this could lead to depression amongst workers. You’re working from home. Just you. No one to disturb you and make you angry in the office… I think this might make some folks refuse the system entirely. Although there’s a way out of this…

Stress or anxiety in the instability of the work you’re doing: You’re replaceable. If your work is not good, we can call someone else. Remember how your mum stayed faithful to the organization and they cherished her? Now, it’s going away. You are repleaceble!

No room for lack of skills: You are either good or go away. Most folks I tell about building websites just tell me yo go online and I’ll get it cheaper and better. So also, organizations will get things done cheaper and better and if you’re not getting better your odds are just in…

It’ll take longer time to build experience as in teems of focus: As you do this and do that, that focus needed for mastery will be lacking. If you stay stable in a place and work and learn, mastery from experience comes faster.

How can you as an African Employee Thrive?

Taking a look at these cons and its trends, if you’re an employee, how would you navigate the tide? What will be your strategy?

From Johannesburg to Addis Ababa to Lagos and Cairo, there’s no exemption or hiding place for this. The way forward is this: How will I thrive in this system?

Albert Einstein will tell us this:

The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.

And George Bernard Shaw…

Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.

The way to thrive says Gianpiero Petriglieri, Susan J. Ashford and Amy Wrzesniewski is to use these strategies:

Place, Routine, Purpose and People.

And the second part of this post talks about these strategies extensively.

4 Most Important Skills Every Nigerian Employer will Need in 2020.

In about 20 years’ time… jobs that are outside of making music or art are going to be computer programs. Everybody else is going to be pretty much obsolete.

Pulkit Jasiwal

Life is changing so fast that I can assure you that if you check your Google Play store now, you’ll see an app or apps that need update. You want to try?

In fact, if you updated a week ago, you’ll still have an app staring at you for update?


Change is ravaging everything around us. Whether you want it or not… In fact, if you don’t change, you’re left behind.

We’ve just spent six days plus in the start of a new decade. And see, if you have a job in Nigeria, there are about 500,000 graduates looking to take your job each year if you drop it.

I’ve been involved in recruiting engagements and I want to say this:

Your CV is not relevant if you’re not getting better.

And if you keep being the same, your employer (if he or she is visionary – civil servants are off it) will see you cheap if you don’t have these skills in 2020:

Good Digital Skills

My boss was just introduced to twitter recently. He knows about it but not fully engaged with it… have had android for more than five years now. Suddenly, it’s proving to be important.

From personal tweeting to organizational tweets, it’s now necessary to understand the twitter environment. We had to even hire someone to oversee that aspect.

Please note that this is beyond twitter. It’s about digital literacy. Can you blog? Can you create content? Can you drive traffic? Do you know how to program? If your boss have not talked about this with you, get ready. You’ll hear it soon!

Continuous Creativity

As an employee, it’s not been easy for me to keep up with the pace. Yet, I’ve made sure that something new comes up every season.

For example, the structure of our content for training just changed. Since I do training with teens, I had to adjust it completely. I added smileys 😀😄 to it. And the students are enjoying it… Also started training secondary students who run businesses and NGOs. And it’s been fun.

Relationship Skill

Two things are involved here – relating with your coworkers and relating with your customers.

If you don’t know how to relate, forget it.
Your employer or boss might not tell you but when you default in assignments because you are not a team player, your job might be at stake.

Problem Solving Skills

Why do you think you’re employed? Although, some folks think that it’s because of their beauty… Yet, that beauty must solve problems o otherwise you’ll be out…

This is linked to creativity but different. One can be creative without solving problems.

So, don’t just be creative. Let that creativity be tied to solving problems.

As you enter 2020, get trained in these skills so you can offer more value to your organization and make yourself mor valuable too.