Nigerians are discovering new prospects in employment with foreign-based businesses despite the country’s economic downturn and high unemployment rate.
Remote work is a system where employees are allowed to perform their roles in organisations from locations other than corporate workspaces. Such locations could include employees’ homes, private offices or other shared spaces.
Remote work has been a practice for many years now. However, the 2020 global pandemic that rocked nations including Nigeria amplified the voice of this work culture.
The pandemic era threw many out of their jobs as various companies allowed their staff to work from home or other places.
COVID-19 has had social and economic implications, both positive and negative.
Interestingly, since COVID, there seems to be a surge in demand for skilled human resources globally. And Nigeria boasts of the largest population of youth in the world, with a median age of 18.1 years, statistics say. This translates to an asset of human capital, with about 70 per cent of the population under 30, and 42 per cent under the age of 15.
Especially with the impending global recession, local pressures of inflation, insecurity, naira devaluation, foreign reserve depletion, and a 33 per cent unemployment rate, more Nigerians are embracing the opportunities of remote work, especially with foreign-based businesses and companies.
These remote foreign roles have served as hedges in the face of Nigeria’s constant naira devaluation, local job insecurity and inflation pressures because employees earn in dollars. As more doors open for remote work with overseas-based companies, more Nigerians are grasping these opportunities with both hands to secure their financial future in the long term.
Tobi Amure, a 28-year-old crypto news writer for Investopedia and other Defi companies, is one of the many Nigerians who are enjoying the benefits of working for foreign companies from the confines of their homes.
Narrating his remote work experience which started in 2019 on Upwork,( a freelance app for employers and employees), Amure explained that all it took was an application and within one month he was drafted into the army of remote working.
“It didn’t take so long anyways via Upwork. I think about a month or so after I set it up.”
Speaking on the work culture in the overseas-based company, Amure described it as “quite chilled.”
“My editor sends work via mail, and sometimes we have maybe a zoom meeting just to explain some things. There’s respect, nobody’s stepping on anybody’s toes and you have a deadline to meet and you meet it. So, there’s no pressure. It’s quite true.”
According to the 28-year-old SEO writer, his freelancing role with the company has earned a monthly average of $2000.
“Though it’s a freelance role, technically, the amount ranges from $1,000, to $3,000, depending on how much work I can get done. The good thing is that I reside in Nigeria, Lagos to be precise, and I am 28 years old.”
Amure disclosed that despite his energised earning power, he still had plans to relocate from Nigeria for a better life.
“Obviously, the thing about this is that I am looking to have a career in digital marketing and it will make sense to live abroad because some of these companies do not want to work with Nigerians based in Nigeria. Then there’s the issue of insecurity too.”
Twenty-five-year-old Janet John, a technical writer and content marketer for a foreign company, narrated her experience with getting into her current role in Uyo.
“I used to code. I was doing front-end and while learning, I used to write articles on what I have learned to help me to better understand what I’m doing. That’s how I started technical writing. So, at one point, someone reached out to me that they liked what I wrote and would like me to write for them.
“It was a technical article on one of the front-end tools. And, they were going to pay me $200. So, I accepted and I wrote it and they liked it.
And that’s how I started technical writing. So I will build something, then I’ll write about.”
Her consistent efforts and applications landed her writing gigs and opportunities with tech blogs such as Smashing Magazine, which pay between $200 and $500 for writing.
Janet is writing for other platforms too. “I was making money, but I still had a normal Nigerian day job. I was making more than my salary.
“If I write for three people in a month, I can make close to $1,000 or $2,000 sometimes. I have been doing this for two years.’’
Based in Ilorin, Sanni Alausa, a resume reviewer for a foreign company, has also landed some remote jobs.
According to him, the majority of his work was focused on the American and Canadian markets.
“Most of the clients that I review their resumes for are in the United States or in Canada.”
Alausa revealed that his friends played a huge role in influencing his path and access to remote work companies. He recalled that his foray into remote job started in late June 2021 when he applied for several jobs on Upwork.