There has been a lot of spotlight on professionals who have decided to leave their employment and relocate to other regions.
Many Nigerians have sought employment abroad during the “Japa wave,” also known as the “Brain drain,” where they may presumably live in a wealthier environment.
The benefits that might follow from these departures are rarely discussed, though. One of them might be that those who choose to stay might have the chance to enhance their careers and position themselves to take on more demanding or expansive roles either inside or outside of their organization.
Employers and organisations within Nigeria’s professional space constantly seek ways to offset these departures. And many find themselves considering professionals who have chosen to stick around to fill positions left behind.
This is why trying to equip professionals who have chosen to stay to take on these new roles makes sense.
Hilda Kabushenga Kragha, the CEO of The African Talent Company, sought to light the way for these professionals with an exclusive masterclass delivered to Jobberman’s community.
The critical question to be answered was;
What, if any, are the strategies for advancing one’s career with the current scope of Nigeria’s professional space?
Or, In simpler terms, How do we leverage the mass exodus into better careers?
The first point Hilda addressed was that most graduates entering the job market today are at a disadvantage. This is because job creation across Africa is relatively low.
Hilda explained that the Mo Ibrahim foundation conducted research which found that 18 million jobs need to be created annually to absorb new entries in the labour market. Still, only 3 million formal jobs are created across Africa each year.
This is a worrying situation for those with only one year or less of experience, as employers tend to prioritise professionals with more experience who can do the job immediately.
How do you navigate this as a young graduate?
According to Hilda, you should look for and acquire skills that will help you fit into the labour market.
Taking advantage of free learning platforms like Coursera, Youtube, and Udemy is a great way to achieve this. Volunteering and internship positions are also good avenues for putting these skills to use.
Career Advice For Professionals Who Choose to Stay
Take stock of your life and ask yourself several questions, including,
Am I on the right track?
What do I want for the future?
Find out what exactly is ideal for you. Also, start thinking about what kind of company makes sense for you.
It could mean deciding between working for small or large companies or at a startup.
If you decide that a change is necessary, consider either switching up your career path and remaining in your industry or remaining in your career path and switching to another sector.
How to get visibility at work
- Become a cross-collaborator; find projects outside your department that you can contribute to. Getting into these projects can give you visibility across your organisation.
- Become incredibly good at one thing. Being known for being great at one thing can also be a great way to separate yourself, as people will more likely come to you for that one thing.
Furthermore, Hilda made known that when you become everybody’s favourite, you may need to learn how to say no and prioritise tasks so you don’t get burnt out.
You have to be able to do this early and be respectful, so you never have to put out bad work.
- Identify career sponsors that can support you and are confident of your skills. These are superiors willing to hold your hand and guide you through advancing your career.
For example, you can do one-to-ones with favoured stakeholders before presenting your ideas to them in a group setting. This way, you can garner support for your project from the stakeholders who would be judging the project later on.
This way, you know what they want to see, and they can back you when the time comes.
- Get evidence for the excellent work that you have done. Get colleagues to support your ideas and to root for your projects. Don’t build in hiding.
Make sure to note additional responsibilities if you are given any so that you can be compensated and promoted for the work you are now doing.
At this point, you need to decide if you want to move up a level within your organisation or if you want to move to another organisation.
As with your previous decisions, you need to decide which path aligns best with what you want for yourself and run with that.
She also took time to answer questions; she advised participants trying to decide between starting a business and finding a job to do what was best at the time. And look to do both in the long run.
She also clarified that soft skills complement hard or technical skills.
“Technical skills are the primary skills you need; however, soft skills can help you more effectively employ your technical skills, making you a more well-rounded professional. She explained that it could give you an edge over those who do not have”.
With that said, if you are looking to upskill to become more effective in your current and future positions, the Jobberman Soft Skills Course has a robust curriculum that is sure to impact you significantly and equip you with the knowledge you need for that next step.