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Home People Meet Erick Wilson Wafula as he shares on how BrighterMonday aims  to bridge the African talent gap

Meet Erick Wilson Wafula as he shares on how BrighterMonday aims  to bridge the African talent gap

by Milcah Lukhanyu
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BrighterMonday was established in 2006 and has grown to become Kenya’s leading job matching platform. It is part of The African Talent Company (TATC) Group which runs the BrighterMonday platforms in East Africa (Uganda & Kenya) and the Jobberman job-matching platforms in West Africa (Nigeria & Ghana)

Over the past 10 years, TATC platforms have developed a database of nearly 75,000 employers registered across Africa.  The company aims  to bridge the African talent gap.

 Erick Wilson Wafula is the current Head of Marketing for BrighterMonday for  East Africa. He has experience in marketing and growth hacking of over 10 years across the African continent in different countries including, Ethiopia, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda & Kenya where he employed his skills as a  Consumer Psychologist and professional marketer to shape the success of various brands

In the past few years, he has led the marketing teams of Ringier One Africa Media brands such as PigiaMe (Kenya), Cheki(Kenya) Qefira (Ethiopia), Expat-Dakar (Senegal) & BrighterMonday as Head of Marketing.

Before joining ROAM, he was in the advertising world where he handled accounts for global & regional brands such as Toyota, the Nairobi Hospital, AIG Kenya, L’Oreal and Heineken among others.TechMoran.com caught up with Eric and these is what he shared,

Tell us more about yourself 

I am the current Head of Marketing for BrighterMonday for  East Africa, having started on this position last year. But I have had the opportunity to work with sister companies in other verticals heading Marketing for Ethiopia, Kenya, Senegal and Tanzania. Before that I was heading Digital marketing and Advertising  for a Kenyan advertising company called The Advertising Company and I was fortunate enough to work with on big accounts such as Toyota, Heineken, L’Oreal amongst others

Which Market did you have the biggest challenge with? 

I would say Ethiopia. They have a different alphabet, a different calendar and english is not widely spoken. However, I had the most fun with this market. As they say, the bigger the challenge, the more rewarding the win!

Now that you are in the recruitment space, How would you describe the Kenyan Labour Market? 

The Kenyan labour market is fast changing to accommodate global demands and practices . In days past, the government was the biggest formal employer, with big corporates following closely. But of recent times, this has changed. We are seeing  SMEs and private companies taking over. We have also seen a change in attitude. While growing up, most of our parents, uncles and aunts worked for the government and they would stay there for a long time, but this is no longer the case. We see a lot of people working for one company over a shorter durations of time as they pursue their career goals, including setting up something of their own. Perceptions towards work has greatly changed with work no longer being viewed  as just what you do to earn a living but also what defines you as a person and how you contribute to the society. The results are that people are more intentional about their careers and work environment.

what would you describe as the future of the Kenyan labour market, are there opportunities for growth?

To start of, we are witnessing changes in the types of companies on the ground and their demands. Globalisation has also opened up the market and changing the work culture and recruitment practices. The traditional work environment has highly changed resulting into a new kind of worker of is more of a collaborator with an employer rather than an employee.

In my opinion, the future of the labour market will be shaped by global skills demand and best practices. We see global companies setting up locally with staff serving multinational clients. We also see the work culture and recruitment culture changing. Now, employers are willing to take in people working from home. Flexible hours are the in thing and of course one of the biggest opportunities that the Kenyan market can take advantage of is Business Process Outsourcing. In terms of the nature of jobs, they are becoming more performance oriented, a diversion from the 1990 and early 2000s where they were more task oriented. This of course is driven by changing management practices which came about with the rise of Silicon Valley.

We have seen a lot of buzz in the media about BrighterMonday’s expanded mandate. Can you explain more?

The expanded mandate is a  response to the labour market demands. For a long time, we have been known for digital recruitment. But the market and our clients  now want more than this.

To respond to these demands, we have drilled down our focus to be on four key pillars 

The first pillar is online recruitment, which our brands are known for and is especially popular. It provides an easy access to a wide talent pool. What I like about this solution is that it  allows for fairness in the recruitment process while also enabling employers to hire the most qualified candidates.

The second pillar is offline recruitment which is rather customised and deals with specialised roles and highly experienced professionals that may be a challenge to recruit for HR professionals.In such instances, BrighterMonday comes in and executes the recruitment process from start to up to a point where the Employer is willing to take it up

The third pillar is Outsourcing which is increasingly becoming popular in Africa thanks to factors such as increased internet connectivity, changing work cultures, favourable time zones amongst other things. We do a wide spectrum of outsourcing solutions from Payroll management, recruitment, training and onboarding and general HR solutions. 

The last pillar is Partnerships, especially for impact projects. We realised that we are part of an ecosystem and we can actually accelerate talent development in Africa by partnering with like minded development partners and organisations  through joint projects that will result in closing the talent and employment gap in Africa.

As we finish off, Last year, you were among the top 25 men in Digital in Kenya by SOMA and  you were one of the top 3 marketers in Kenya according to Adworld Masters, a European based entity. What is the secret to your success? And is the Tech space that lucrative to venture into? 

Three things keep me going.

The first is Knowledge. I read a lot and try to keep in touch as much as possible with whatever is happening in my profession and industry at Global and local level. Secondly, I take full advantage of my work experience, learning as much as possible from my seniors, juniors, peers and competitors. Lastly , I would say my network. I surround myself with very resourceful people. My network in my networth. I also think my educational background and experience in Consumer Psychology has something to do with it.

And yes, I would say the Tech space is very lucrative, that is if you have a passion for it. Any industry is lucrative, as long as there is passion. There is this quote by the ancient chinese philosopher, Confucious, which I like very much. It says “Choose a job that you like and you will never have to work for a day in your life”

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