EXCLUSIVE: Andela Issues Second Wave Of Layoffs Amidst Placement Struggles

By  |  February 27, 2020

Earlier this month, we exclusively reported on how Andela is still struggling to find job placements for the more junior engineers on its roster, alongside the internal communication issues that have riddled the developer outsourcing company.

This followed an earlier announcement from the company that it is shutting down its junior developer programme and over 400 of its junior developers in Nigeria, Kenya, and Uganda, who have been deemed surplus to requirements, have been let go. Andela put the axing down to market realities, citing that its clients and partner companies were now looking for a more experienced talent pool.

As highlighted in our earlier expose, current benched Andela developers have been on the edge, not sure of what fate lies ahead. Well, an internal email issued yesterday (February 26) confirms the worst fears.

According to the internal memo, Andela has launched a voluntary exit programme targeted at all developers who are yet to be placed.

In simpler terms, Andela is asking the Eng 1 and Eng 2 developers currently on its books who are yet to secure placement to leave at their own will. The voluntary exit option is being offered to Eng 1 and Eng 2 developers who are still on the bench at Andela Nigeria, Andela Kenya, and Andela Uganda.

Andela has, in fact, confirmed this development to WeeTracker, stating that it is taking the necessary steps to address the current imbalance between the Andela Engineer Bench and global demand for engineering talent.

“We have a number of Eng 1 and 2 currently not placed and to those we have offered a voluntary exit option,” Andela tells WeeTracker in an exclusive confirmation.

“Andela has offered a voluntary exit program to a select number of engineers across Lagos, Nairobi, and Kampala. Engineers who opt-in for the voluntary exit program will receive an enhanced package, as well as ongoing job placement support, should they require it.”

Per the internal communication, the voluntary exit programme will see the engineers exit the company with a decent package that includes;

  • Prorated 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

The notice also states that those who qualify for the exit scheme have to apply before March 13th. In the memo, Andela notes that applicants will be notified of their approval or rejection between March 13th and March 17th.

Andela’s statement reads in part, “We are approaching the bench reduction differently. 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.”

Andela claims that they may reject an exit application if the candidate does not meet the exit criteria or the company feels that the candidate may soon be placed. Those whose applications will be accepted will have until March 20th to exit the company.

The outsourcer of software engineering talent also claims that it currently has over Eng 1 and Eng 2 engineers working with global companies and billing. And none of them will be affected by the latest development.

For those likely to affected, the company talks up a generous severance package in addition to support.

“We have an enhanced package available for those who opt-in to the voluntary exit program,” says Andela. 

The company claims to have partnered with Shortlist, a job board and placement services firm with over 500 companies on their platform to support some of its exiting engineers. Andela is also pledging to connect them with tech hubs.

“Engineers who opt-in to have their information shared with Shortlist will have access to the platform. We are also connecting with leading hubs and employers in each affected region to share profiles and facilitate connections for engineers who agree to have their details shared.”

Per a source, we have made to been made to understand that Eng 1 and Eng 2 developers who fail to apply for the exit option may face redundancy after March 20th and may be summarily laid off by Andela with a less favourable exit package.

If it looks like the metamorphosis is complete, that’s probably because it is. And it looks like it’s working too. Coming out of Q3 2019, Andela made significant changes to its hiring process to only bring on engineers that it believed it could place relatively soon. In Q4 2019, Andela said it hired 126 engineers and launched 166, thanks to those changes.

Correction: This article has been updated to reflect that Andela is only struggling to find jobs for the more junior developers on its roster and that the company has launched 166 engineers since hiring 126 senior-level devs last year as part of the strategy tweak.

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