More Trouble in Paradise as Andela Looks Set to Layoff More Junior and Mid-Level Developers

Andela acquires tech skills assessment platform, Qualified to improve job placement services

Recently, we reported that Andela laid off 400 of its junior developers because it could not find enough jobs that match the skill and experience of the talent pool. We have reason to believe that the familiar ghosts are still lurking in the halls of Andela.

The talent-outsourcing startup recently sent internal mails to developers in its Eng 1 and Eng 2 category notifying them of a voluntary exit program. Voluntary exit programs are surprisingly new for the company considering that previously, it wasn’t keen about letting their developers leave.

According to reports, leaving Andela could cost a developer as much as $20,000 for termination fee. This covers training and operational costs because even while in training, the company was paying them a stipend.

The internal memo, which was sent on February 26, informed every developer staff who had not yet been placed that they could apply for the voluntary exit program. After applying for the program, the developer’s application would either be accepted or rejected based on a number of reasons.

First, if the developer may soon be placed in the near future, then their application may be rejected. Another reason for rejection is if the developer fails to meet the exit criteria. The program is currently open to developers in Andela Nigeria, Kenya and Uganda.

Andela developers

The application is expected to be made on or before March 13th and responses will be received between March 13 or March 17. For the developers whose applications are received and approved, the voluntary exit program will ensure they have the following:

  • Prorated (or proportional) March pay
  • 1-month pay
  • Accrued benefits
  • 15 days per year of service plus 1.5-month ex gratia (in accordance with Kenyan law)
  • 3-month medical cover
  • Accrued “Fellow” savings payout
  • Placement support

What about those who do not use the exit?

Developers who do not opt for Andela’s Voluntary Exit program offered by may face redundancy if eventually the startup is unable to place them.

This may then force Andela to ask them to resign. The problem with that resignation is that it would likely come with a far less favorable package than the ones offered in the Voluntary Exit program.

Is Andela growing too big for its own model?

That is not easy to answer. Andela started as a company focused on talent development and finding a way to connect that talent to businesses and organisations that need them and generating income while at it.

Over time, Andela has adjusted its operations to fit its business needs even as it tilts more towards becoming a for-profit developer outsourcing enterprise.

Previously, developers joined Andela through its Andela Fellowship; an intensive 6-months training for entry-level developers. The training got the developers ready for clients.

Tolulope Komolafe is Andela’s first D4 developer (Image: Benjamin Dada)

But somewhere along the line, the tech outsourcing company started recruiting client-ready external developers and connecting them to jobs and clients that were available. Thus, Andela had to bypass its own program to suit its new businesses.

Ultimately this meant that there were not that many of a job left for the junior developers hence the wave of layoffs that has since seen the company rid itself of of 400 junior developers. Evidently, many more will follow.

More trouble in paradise

Reports from Andelans who are in the mid-level category currently indicate that there is a communication challenge within the organization, according to Weetracker.

Curious to know what may become of them, developers who have not been placed have posed questions to the organizations. Most of them however, are not satisfied with the answers they got.

According to reports, the concerns are not addressed indepth and oftentimes conversations seems one-way. These brings the list of challenges within Andela to include communication, overstaffing in some areas and insufficiency of jobs for some staff category.

Chimdindu Aneke, a former Andela developer who joined Facebook

However, the company is taking a different approach to this looming wave of downsizing as it has set up a department to look into the situation and try to salvage it.

“We are approaching the bench reduction differently,” Andela said in a release. “For the engineers who we don’t expect to place, we have offered the option to resign; they will receive an enhanced package through a voluntary exit program. Depending on how many engineers decide to take this package, we will evaluate the need for additional next steps.”

It is becoming clear that more experienced developers are the ones that can fit into Andela’s evolving shape. If releasing 400 junior developers was bad, it remains to be seen how releasing mid-level developers will be described.

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