Shortlist is building a better way to hire. By combining tech, data, and human touch, Shortlist provides executive search and talent technology services across Africa, India, and 20+ countries globally. Shortlist’s project, Accelerating the Rise of Cloud Work in Kenya, aims to upskill, match, and place 5000 youth into decent jobs in Kenya through Cloud Work employers.
Kenya’s workforce has yet to benefit from the growth of the digital economy and catch up with the growing labour demand in cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things. Despite employers’ clear interest in hiring Kenyans to conduct cloud-based work, there is a lack of trained people and market linkages that connect youth with jobs. Many Kenyan youths could engage in cloud work today; however, they lack the necessary training to equip them with the right skills and access the opportunities in the digital job market. There are significant challenges on both the demand and labour side that hold youth back from participating in the digital workforce. Upskilling organisations struggle to connect their graduates with job opportunities and find the financial resources needed to proactively train thousands of young people and impact the overall employment rates. At the same time, employers struggle to find ready-to-work talent, and job seekers face acute challenges in identifying job opportunities and demonstrating they can do the work. Therefore, navigating through this challenge requires different actors to work together in a structured way.
Moreover, female job seekers in Kenya face especially severe challenges in finding work that matches their skill-sets and potential and pays them equitably. Historically, the job matching process has favoured male applicants, from the user interface that candidates experience to the wording used in the application questions and the signals recruitment teams give employers.
Shortlist has formed a consortium with Cloudfactory and Africa AI to achieve the ambitious goal of matching and placing 5000 youths (60% women) into ICT employment. The project design addresses the structural bottlenecks that have prevented the industry from unlocking its growth potential so far and requires a consortium approach to address both the labour infrastructure and talent pool gaps that currently limit job creation. The consortium will tackle these complex challenges through sourcing talent, training candidates, and matching and placing candidates. The validated demand by employers underpins Shortlist’s proposed approach. Cloudfactory and Africa AI already have a real need to hire at least 5,000 Kenyans over the next 36 months. However, to further drive long-term sustainability based on increasing employer demand, Shortlist will also be partnering with other cloud work employers. Shortlist is proposing a unique approach to powering the digital economy in Kenya: creating a formal collaboration between a job matching platform, targeted upskillers, and global employers with confirmed employment demand. The project’s long-term goal is to lay the groundwork for the scale-up of the cloud work industry in Kenya.
A significant part of Shortlist’s objective is to encourage more women applicants and eliminate gender biases in the job matching process through gender-sensitive practices.
Cloud work is at a nascent and critical moment in Kenya. Kenya can become a leader in the sector, creating tens of thousands of decent jobs if the necessary infrastructure and talent pools are built. With CFYE’s contribution, Shortlist can provide an immediate and catalytic impact on achieving this program’s objectives. The grant will help Shortlist develop the physical infrastructure necessary for scaled job creation, specifically through the development of cloud worksites across the country. It will also allow Shortlist to validate an innovative financing facility needed to enable youths to afford a computer to engage in cloud work remotely.