The connection between tech jobs and migration

It’s not uncommon to check in on your favorite influencer on any social media platform and discover that they’ve relocated to another country due to a tech-related job.

Nigeria has emerged as a fintech powerhouse in Sub-Saharan Africa during the previous decade. The fintech industry has created two giants, Flutterwave and Interswitch, as well as a slew of high-profile foreign acquisitions and collaborations backed by venture capital, including Paystack, OPay, and Kuda. Nigerian fintech businesses raised more than $600 million in investment between 2014 and 2019 and $439 million in 2020.

Nigerian fintech entrepreneurs and investors have been dealing with the issue of migration by talented tech personnel for years. In a tweet earlier this year, Victor Asemota, co-founder of MFiSA, an African mobile financial services accelerator, stated that the largest difficulty facing African entrepreneurs is finding talent. “Many people are already experiencing discomfort. “Migration is the biggest threat to talent availability,” he stated. Jessica Akano, a recruiting manager at Andela, a software engineering outsourcing business in Lagos, told newsmen in 2019 that one of the most difficult aspects of her job has been finding qualified candidates, considering the fierce competition for software engineers both at home and overseas. “There’s always another firm prepared to help you take the talents available.”

The ability to work from anywhere is a gamechanger in the tech business, especially in light of the seemingly ongoing pandemic and a tremendous surge in remote employment. For job searchers, the market is now wide open and unrestricted by geography. For organizations looking to hire, the expanded global talent pool means more competition for candidates. Smart organizations are evolving to recruit and keep top talent as tech workers effortlessly migrate.


According to Emsi Job Posting Analytics data and an analysis by the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP), “there are over 1 million unique active job vacancy postings in computer occupations in the United States as of March 7, 2021, up 11% from a year ago.”


“Computer employment was already rising quickly before the pandemic, but an 11% rise in job postings from the period immediately before the Covid-related recession hit is still amazing,” said Mark Regets, a labour economist and senior fellow at the National Foundation for American Policy.


The H-1B visa, which is regulated by the Immigration and Nationality Act, allows U.S. firms to hire foreign workers in specialized occupations temporarily. A specialized occupation necessitates the application of specific knowledge as well as a bachelor’s degree or work experience equivalent. The visa holder may be required to reapply after three years, which can be extended to six years.



In computer-related jobs, the United States relies disproportionately on foreign-born talent. According to NAE’s study of Census data, immigrants accounted for 25% of the computing workforce in 2019, compared to 17.4% of the overall labour force, according to the Labor Department. “The data in this analysis is providing further weight to the idea that there are still demands from employers in the US for computer-related professionals that aren’t being addressed by existing immigration policy in the US,” said Andrew Lim, NAE’s head of quantitative research.


Although Texas and Florida are popular destinations for tech workers, the most significant surge in tech worker migration happened in an unexpected location: Madison, Wisconsin. According to a new LinkedIn analysis that analyzed tech migration trends from April to October, the months when most people relocated during the epidemic, the city is recruiting 1.77 tech employees for everyone that leaves.


During the epidemic, less common tech locations on the coasts, such as Sacramento, California, and Richmond, Virginia, absorbed a large number of tech professionals, while New York City and San Francisco lost workers. Midwest cities such as Minneapolis and Cleveland have reduced their prices.


What Is Driving the Migration of Tech Talent?

One of the primary reasons for people leaving coastal cities is the disparity in living costs. While pandemic lockdown orders force employers to establish work-from-home and work-from-anywhere policies, tech workers see no reason to pay big-city prices. Employees can save money by relocating to smaller cities with lower rent, lower taxes, and shorter commutes.


How would job-based immigration affect Africa?

  1. People of working age leave the country, limiting the prospective workforce.
  2. Gender imbalances are created because men are more likely to look for work elsewhere. Women and children are the only ones remaining.
  3. If a large number of skilled workers depart, there will be a ‘brain drain.’
  4. Costs of services such as health care and education are rising.
  5. Immigration has an impact on labour supply because it expands the pool of workers in certain industries. At the same time, as consumer demand for particular goods and services expands, immigration is likely to boost labour demand. That is, while immigration may increase competition for current employees in some industries, it can also create new ones.

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