EP 58: Embracing Africa’s Talent: Exploring the Benefits, Best Sources, and Impact on the Global Talent Economy w Valerie Bowden
James Mackey 0:19
Hello, welcome to Talent Acquisition Trends and Strategy. I'm your host, James Mackey. We have a very exciting episode for you today covering a topic that we have not thus far. And today we are joined by Valerie Bowden, Valerie, thank you so much for joining us today. Thank you for having me. I'm excited to be here. We are very excited to host you. And I'm just really, really pumped about the outline for the topics that we have for us today.
We're going to make sure everything is put in the description of the episodes of folks that are tuning in to know exactly what we're going to be diving into. I want to make sure that everybody understands where you're coming from, in this conversation, your experiences that have led to starting your own company, and the solutions that you're providing and why it's important. So would you mind sharing a little bit about yourself and your background?
Valerie Bowden 1:09
Yes, definitely. So I grew up in the US and went to school for social work. And after I got my master's, I decided to backpack across Africa. So I took a one-way flight to Cape Town backpacking, the entire continent loved it so much that I ended up relocating to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. I spent eight years there. I'm now back in the US. And I'm just really passionate about the talent in Africa, and helping Africans get better access to great jobs.
James Mackey 1:37
I love it. So you were backpacking? I'd love to hear about that.
Valerie Bowden 1:45
Okay, so I took a one-way flight to Cape Town, and I thought I'd be traveling for six weeks, and I ended up having such a good time. It's so much thicker than I expected. I started crossing borders, and I went through 13 countries. So I basically cross all the way from, you know, the bottom of the continent, South Africa to Cairo. And it took me seven months and nine days.
James Mackey 2:00
Yeah, that's incredible. And were you most of that trip by yourself?
Valerie Bowden 2:10
I had a tent in a backpack. But I would say that what most people don't know is that there are a lot of backpackers on the continent. So I would meet one backpacker in a country and then meet him again in a different country and meet him again in a different country. So you bumped along the way. It was really fun. It must have been such a wild experience. It was so cool. I mean, it's like one day I'm tracking gorillas. The next day, I'm wrapping the Nile. And I got to see the pyramids in Egypt and in Sudan and the pyramids in Sudan were my favorite. So like, there's just a lot of things I discovered along the way. That was really fun.
James Mackey 2:46
What was that shift in perspective or decision where you decided, Okay, I've been doing this six weeks, you know what, I'm going to make a significant change to my next step, and opposed to going back home. I'm gonna go all in on this, like, what was that? What was going on there? I'd love to hear like, just that internal decision-making and feeling that you felt at the time.
Valerie Bowden 3:13
Well, first, I was really afraid because I had never really backpacked before. And you know, like, the stereotypes about Africa are that it's super dangerous. So I was scared. So I was like, Okay, I think I can survive six weeks. So that was my plan. And I met all of these travelers doing the Cairo to Cape Town route. So they were coming in the opposite direction. And they'd have to, like, Oh, you have to put on malaria. Oh, you have to go to Uganda. Oh, you have to go to this country. And once I started crossing borders and getting the hang of hitchhiking and taking mini buses and cargo boats, I was like, Oh, this is really fun. I feel super safe. And instead of like, how fast can I get through the trip and survive? It was more like okay, how many countries? Can I weave it into my trip before I have to go home and run out of money?
Valerie Bowden 3:55
So yeah, just seeing other travelers do it, I think really gave me the courage to do it as well.
James Mackey 4:01
Yeah, just being in the environment and feeling it and it must have been such a big shift from just living in the States. Where were you working before? I like to if we're working in the recruiting industry, or
Valerie Bowden 4:13
I was in HR, in a company in Kentucky, so yeah, going from the Midwest like a place where nobody traveled to, to come into so many different countries and having so many different experiences was really wild. I love it.
James Mackey 4:30
Yeah, it sounds like it. And and I'm sure just multiple cultural shifts traveling throughout the continent and a huge cultural shift coming from the US. Which I think is when what's really cool about what you did and why traveling and experiencing other cultures is so important to me. It's really close to the top of my value set because when you break patterns like that out of your day-to-day, it opens up your mind to think creatively. And to develop a new enhanced perspective, and sometimes when we live in the same place, have the same job, and go through the same motions, we start to go on autopilot. And we not only are not going to develop more, we're not going to grow into a better, healthier, enhanced perspective. But sometimes we also start to lose some of that passion that life has to offer. And so doing what you did, having being a little bit spontaneous, and taking some risks and breaking patterns, and just almost convincing yourself or making yourself take a leap of faith and experience something that you never had before. I feel like it's directly correlated to the quality of the direction our life is going ahead. Yes. So I absolutely love that story. So I just wanted to slow down on that.
Valerie Bowden 5:54
Yeah, no, thank you so much. You're so right. I mean, once I think the scariest thing is before you go. And then once you go, you realize how amazing it is. And it has certainly shifted my entire life. Because before that I was a social worker. So I was really all about Nonprofits and Charities. And when I started traveling, I realized that those were really not making the biggest difference in African countries. So it completely transformed my idea of how the US should work with African countries and how we should help Africa to the point where I switched from social work into a business, realizing that there was actually so much potential in African countries and that creating jobs actually created a better social impact. So it wasn't just traveling it shifted my whole idea of the continent and how I now work with it.
James Mackey 6:42
Yeah, for sure. I mean, think about how different your life might have been if you had not gone on that trip.
James Mackey 6:51
Like a totally different trajectory. Right. That's, I love that stuff. It's just so cool to me, right? Yeah, that's really cool.
Well, hey, so the benefits of African talent, just to jump into our first bucket, if you will. I think there are a lot of companies I mean, this idea of outsourcing or globally distributed teams, I don't think it's really even referred to as outsourcing quite as much now it's, it's pretty. Most companies at larger companies are leveraging international teams for several different reasons. But I would love to get your thoughts on specifically the benefits of African talent. And why if you are seeing a trend to more companies engaging with African talent, why are they doing that and why should they think about doing it?
Valerie Bowden 7:33
Yes. Okay, great question. So, after spending eight years in Ethiopia, I saw so much talent, I was working with a lot of the outsourcing companies there. And now I do that continent-wide. So I see a lot of our US and European clients starting to build remote teams and African countries, or at least fill remote positions with African talent. I mean, mainly because of the cost, like the cost of living is so much more affordable, and in African countries, you can pay a great salary, and it's still a little significantly less than what you pay in the US. Just for example, when I was living in Ethiopia, I, you know, now that I moved back to Pittsburgh a year ago, I spend 10 times more on rent. So the cost of living is so affordable.
And so that means you can have great talent and, and great prices. And besides that, I mean, a lot of our clients especially come to us because of the social impact, again, like creating great jobs as part of our mission. And so companies that want to create a good impact and help, you know, African talent come into the global talent economy, I think is a big one. And some companies come to us for the D&I and I just like having more diversity in their company. And I think anybody who wants to build a remote team knows that there are just benefits of having multiple teams around the world. There's just a lot of benefits in that. And so why not build one in an African country where you get great talent, and it's great English and super affordable?
James Mackey 8:59
The companies that are considering this, you see more? So SMB mid-market, enterprise-specific industries? What do you say?
Valerie Bowden 9:09
I see a huge range. There are a lot of huge companies in the US that are outsourcing to Africa, and you don't even know about it like McDonald's, Intel, Walmart, Charles Schwab, Citibank, all of those are currently outsourcing to Ethiopia. So it's already happening on a huge level. But I also see a lot of smaller social entrepreneurs. One like solopreneurs also starting to outsource and they have more of the social impact kind of reason behind it. And I think the big companies are doing it more for cost savings.
James Mackey 9:43
Got it? Are you seeing specific skill sets or roles that are being prioritized? For instance, is it primarily engineers or administrative? What are you seeing from that perspective?
Valerie Bowden 9:58
Yes, so developers are definitely a big one. I think cold callers and sales reps are growing. So I just got off a call with someone who wanted appointment setters. They also wanted closers. And I was very open about saying like, okay, that's probably not yet maybe like not closers, but a lot of the cold outreach, I think is easy to place. We do a lot of virtual assistants. Contact centers are off the charts growing in Ethiopia right now because Ethiopians have like, super good English. So that's kind of becoming a big hub for contact centers. So yeah, I see a huge range. And I think it just depends on what kind of skill set you want. And that depends on which country you end up working with.
James Mackey 10:40
Right? And so, and maybe there aren't huge differences, but when companies are considering outsourcing to Africa, what is there any nuance or differences if they're considering outsourcing to Eastern Europe? Or Latin? Or is it simply the geographical location that is going to allow them to collaborate better with leadership managers, clients? I mean, what do companies think about when it makes sense to outsource in Africa versus other regions?
Valerie Bowden 11:13
Right question. I mean, I know a lot of companies will choose developers in Rwanda or Uganda because they're cheaper than developers in India right now. And also, you know, in general, I feel like Africans have really good English. So the accents are really easier to understand. So a lot of companies have switched just for wanting, like increased communication, cheaper rates. But I would say, when you're looking worldwide, I would look more specifically at which country in Africa you should outsource to, I don't work as much as, like, Eastern European, or like, I don't do outsourcing to India. So I focus more on the differences each African country has. And I would say, there's a big difference when you're looking at the continent, which country you should choose based on your clients, and the skill set that you need to fulfill.
James Mackey 12:03
Right? That was gonna be my next question, too. Because I would love to learn a little bit about just which countries to hone in on. And also just learn a little bit more about the infrastructure that they have for business, like, you know, there's I'm assuming there's probably like some countries, too, that have like a better international infrastructure, business environment, more business-friendly, they might have more robust like internet infrastructure, things like that. So could you walk us through the top countries and the benefits of working in those countries?
Valerie Bowden 12:36
Yes. Okay. Great question. So I think right now, my favorites are Uganda and Rwanda because they're super affordable. And they have really good internet and really good backup power sources. So we place a lot of virtual assistants out of Uganda because they can work from home, we don't have to give them backup power, because they already have that. Like, it's just pretty much standard. So developers and virtual assistants are there for sure. For people who want again, like cold callers, or anyone who's like client facing and they weren't really kind of like American leaning accents, I would do Ethiopia because they have good accents. And the only downside of Ethiopia is that the infrastructure is not as good. So you do need to be partnering with a really good BPO company on the ground, who will make sure that they have the backup generator and the good internet and all of that, and that tends to be a little bit more, I think, expensive unless you're doing large volumes. Overall, Ethiopia is good for people who want French-speaking, Madagascar, or Morocco has great French speakers. Yeah, and Zimbabwe is a new country we started working with and they have a really good accountant. So we've been coming to them whenever we have a need for that.
James Mackey 13:53
Is very cool. Yeah, I think it's you know, what's really interesting, too, about the outsourcing strategy is to take you through the benefits of selecting a region I. Again, my experience primarily is in Eastern Europe. Okay, we built out a subsidiary in Romania, for my company's SecureVision. And we were primarily hiring recruiters on top of funnel sources. So essentially like SDRs, but for recruiting. Yep. And so we had some success. One of the challenges we had was we needed folks to work for the US timezone. So while we did have a couple of clients in Europe, most of our client base was us. And so there was a discrepancy in the timezone. And so basically, even though we were paying almost at the time, I think we were paying close to double the market rate for talent. There were still folks that were like, Hey, I have kids, I can't work that late, right? So it did limit significantly the size of our talent pool.
And so we never really were able to turn it into a scalable solution specifically for that, I think there were really two reasons. One, we needed great English skills. And two, it was because of the timezone, which I think is really the first timezone. And to a subset of that is high English skills. Because if we had a bigger pool of candidates, if it was in the right time zone, we would have been able to get more folks that can speak really English really well, as it's I think, like the lesson learned was like, okay, to some extent, from a scale position, like one thing I would have thought a little bit more through, like next time around is, if we had more clients in Europe or in other regions, like even like Israel, right, if we were doing we have a lot of Israeli clients, but they're recruiting in the US market, versus if we were actually helping them with hiring in Israel, then it might have made more sense. But for us, specifically, since we're looking for folks in the same time zone, because it is outreach correlated to sales and marketing and the US market, focusing more so on lat am, right, because then we're able to get that alignment with time zones where they're sending folks messages at the right times. And they're able to engage with leadership in the US at the right times. And so I think there's also something to consider when you're scaling internationally. It's, you know, do you have managers and leadership in Europe or in Africa or in Eastern Europe?
Do you have a reason to be in those countries beyond cost-cutting to like, do you have clients? And that, the more reasons you have to be in that region, the more likely I feel that outsourcing strategy is to be more likely to be successful.
Valerie Bowden 16:41
Yes, yes, I understand. Yeah, it does, I would say. I mean, I would say that, again, when the advantage of outsourcing to African countries is that we have not had an issue fulfilling a US client's timezone. And I think that's because of two reasons. One, the youth in Africa, everybody always talks about it. But it's like the most youthful continent as far as there's so many, I think in Ethiopia alone, there'll be like 10 million youth in the next five years coming up. So it's a lot easier to convince a 21-year-old to work US hours, than maybe someone who's older. And a lot of the talent we placed is actually you know, they're still in grad school, maybe. So they kind of love that they can go to pack in the morning, and then go to the office, and work US timezone. And then we just make sure that we provide transportation home at night. So we have our own vehicles, or we rent them and we make sure that everybody gets home safely. But I would say we've never had an issue with not being able to fulfill.
James Mackey 17:40
And so even at scale, like even if, okay, you had to get a client that needed it. I don't know, like 100, folks, right? Do you feel like I mean, obviously, that's a big project like, yeah, I understand that. That's, that's a big motion to go through, regardless, but you feel like the talent pool is there to definitely over a three-month period or something and scale that up?
Valerie Bowden 18:02
Oh, my gosh, yes. So for example, one of the partners we work with was at 100 People last January, and they close the year at 600 people, and that's all working US timezone. So, yeah, so I would say, again, that's like the advantage of African countries is that they have huge populations. So adding 100 seats to your team with US timezone is not an issue. And really the, I mean, partly is because you don't like this awesome youth who doesn't mind as much. And partly, it's because there's just such a lack of jobs, which is kind of what drives me like the impact of trying to like, create jobs. And there are just not a lot of brake jobs available locally. So you know, as long as they're getting paid, well, they can get home safely. We haven't found it to be an issue.
James Mackey 18:47
Yeah, that's, that's really cool. Because, you know, and Eastern Europe, too, I think you start to see more, the more success there is, without sourcing, it's really more so related to developers. And a lot of times the developers don't necessarily need to work US hours, even if they're supporting full-time USA clients. So you start to see that but you also start to see, I think prices are rising primarily and are rising in Eastern Europe and in India. And you know, there's also this conversation happening about how our, you know, salaries going to love globally, basically be the same everywhere. And I think I think that that that is typically not actually the case, it's not going to happen, because if there wasn't a cost-benefit, for instance, for a US company to hire in India, then why wouldn't they just hire in the US like, why are they going to deal with the timezone difference? If the price is the same? So I think that that in and of itself kind of brakes in some, you know, that is a good enough reason as to why the prices aren't going to necessarily level out. I think over time to level out as companies are more so dispersed globally.
Valerie Bowden 20:00
I see what you mean, I and I would say, I've seen that as well, like over the past few years since COVID kind of happened. If you pay a super cheap price, you can probably find someone, but they will take on three other clients. So we, yeah, I would say Never try to go cheap, cheap, cheap, because they won't be 100% dedicated to you. So I think there is that point that as the global talent economy rises, and people can get on Upwork and get their own jobs, then there is a need to pay more, but I think you can definitely find some that are still more cost-effective than the US. And also, especially when it comes to developers, I think you can get the same skill set. Yeah. I think there are some jobs like cold callers or virtual assistants where they are more affordable because maybe they have less experience than someone who grew up in the US. So there is kind of a, I would say that tends to be the trend in the beginning. But when it comes to developers, I would say the skill set is very much similar no matter what country you're in.
James Mackey 20:58
Totally agree. And I think there's a lot of good reasons to consider outsourcing. And I think, yeah, it's beginning to get a lot easier, right? I mean, when I started the subsidiary in Romania, it was, I think maybe there were companies like deal, for instance, or remote.com, where you can basically funnel employment through those entities. So you didn't actually have to start a subsidiary or because in some of these countries that we were looking at, in Eastern Europe, it was not easy for folks to start their own business, like they couldn't just take 99, right, like they had to get like a whole freakin business in place. And because a lot of these kinds of countries are just not there, they're just not set up in such a way to be business-friendly, particularly for people that you know, want to work internationally or start their own firms. So it created a lot of friction there. And it created a barrier for both folks that want to work internationally and for companies that want to engage with talent in those regions. And so at the time, we had made the decision to start a subsidiary. And now sites like dill and remote.com are very popular, and it really opened up a path forward for folks that want to work internationally and companies that want to engage with talent. Are you seeing those types of tools take off in Africa as well? Does your team leverage that type of tool? Or what are you seeing in the market when it comes to those types?
Valerie Bowden 22:27
Well, okay, so when it comes to clients who want to set up their own, I guess business registration in African countries, I always advise against it. Because if you look at the global scale of like, ease of doing business in countries that like brings that worldwide, I mean, African countries don't do well with that. Ethiopia is actually like, at the bottom, I don't know, super on the bottom. And after living in Ethiopia, and on the continent, I would say doing business is so hard, there are so many rules, there's so many, so many challenges. So I always tell businesses to work with someone like us, or our partners, where the local company that has the registration is doing the actual hiring and the pension plans and all of that stuff. And then the US client is like their own team, they report directly to them, but they write it off at the end of the month as a consultant contractor fee. And they don't actually open the license themselves, at least until they feel comfortable for several years. But even then, I don't think it's worth it. Because just the foreign labor laws are so challenging to understand and work around that I would just avoid them at all costs.
James Mackey 23:33
Yeah, no, I totally get I mean, that's how it basically was in Romania, I don't know if he was like that, to the same extent. And I think that's what I love about like, Okay, what you're doing, and then also these, these companies like deal and remote.com, where you can find a contractor, and they can just kind of funnel it, they can be employed by remote.com. And then that's how you can work with them. So there are different types of solutions. And that's not, that's really, truly more of a contractor versus I think some companies the value add to is like, hey, yes, we're going to provide, we're going to recruit and find the person for you. And you can, there's a feedback loop where you can talk to us about performance, and if somebody isn't working out, we can plug somebody else in. And so there's just a different level of service, then, you know, potentially with a company similar to yours versus, you know, maybe just like using a platform like deal.com or remote.com. So, but yeah, I think that is something that, you know, was historically has prevented folks from scaling outsourcing until they feel like they're, they have like a time to dedicate an entire team to managing it to now it's like, hey, you know what, we we don't have the budget for FTE ease, but we need some help on this one specific team. Why don't we just try to get a few folks in here and see how that goes? If it works, we can roll it out to other teams. So it just makes it a lot easier.
Valerie Bowden 24:49
Yeah, yeah. I think people want to start so big, and honestly, it could just be as simple as let's just try out three developers on a three-month contract and see how it goes. And then you can scale up and they get better and after like five years of doing it, if you want to open your own license locally, go for it. But I don't think the money you save will make up for it. Because no,
James Mackey 25:08
yeah, I mean not if you're like, Okay, I get it if you're, like, McDonald's or something like You're like a huge company, that yeah, by all means, but even still, even if you are, I like the concept of augmenting internal efforts with external. So taking for instance, let's say they're even building an entity, and one of the countries you recommended, okay, let's keep 70% of that staff and house that effort. And let's keep, you know, I don't know 10 To 30% augmented with an external provider, that's a flexible arm that we can scale up or down based on demand. And so I think that's, that's, that's even like, for US companies are hiring the United States like, and that's kind of our value proposition as secure vision, right? Like having, you know, around 70 percent of your internal talent acquisition team, you'll have those folks in-house, and then keep around 30% of your recruiting horsepower with us. And we're the ones that you can adjust and market conditions with hiring surges and things of that nature. So you can keep your fixed costs lower but also have variable flexibility in terms of increasing or decreasing capacity as needed.
Valerie Bowden 26:13
I think that's so smart. And that's gonna be deeply like up to me super relevant with everyone talking about recessions and layoffs, like having the ability to have like an in-house for the team and then like separate teams that you can have kind of augments as needed. Do you feel like that's what clients are thinking about these days?
James Mackey 26:30
Yeah, I think so. I think there's a core, the most important role that you need to remain in-house for people who need 100% of their headspace dedicated to the company or leadership roles, strategic roles. And then I think it cascades down to the level of importance of having certain functions in-house. So a lot of it comes down to the better process and technology and leadership you have in place, the more you can plug in new folks, whether it be contractors or new employees into individual contributor roles within the company, and even manager level. So I think that companies are going to become more and more comfortable with augmented, they don't care as much about whether somebody is a contractor whether somebody's coming in from another company, they're going to be looking at their company strategically and figuring out okay, based on the specific OKRs, or Northstar metrics that we have to hit this year, what's our budget going to be for this department? Or how much capital should we allocate? And CFOs, particularly in this environment are going to be looking at how do we keep fixed costs low?
So how do we achieve this goal in a sustainable way, top-line revenue growth is not an end all be all at this point in time, it's sustainability. Right? And so when they're looking at budgets, they're looking more critically at maintaining margins or increasing their runway or path to profitability or being profitable if it's not a company that has significant debt, or VC backing or whatever it might be. And so I think that that's a natural progression to that is okay, let's keep a skeleton, like a core kind of structure in place. But then let's augment that with flexible solutions, whether it be for finance, or administrative, or it could be for developers or for recruiters. I think it makes sense to do that. And again, like the better process and tech, they have it, actually, it can make it quite easy. On the talent acquisition side, the mistake that I see the most is people think that investing in talent acquisition is cyclical. Investing in talent acquisition should be consistent. And it's actually the cheapest way to invest in talent acquisition, versus if you cut costs, and then you have to hire again, you're going to end up paying a lot more to ramp up at the same time that everybody else is, you're going to end up getting the most expensive pricing for hiring and tech and everything else.
So one of the there's nuances to that like it's okay to cut the budget. And sometimes you have to go through layoffs and things happen, but getting the right process and tech in place is critical. Because if you have the right process baked into the right technology, and you have to cut down on staff, when you bring folks back in, they already have this system onboarding process that tech in place to where they can become value creators faster. And so I think you can live in the reality of the market and scale up or down your team, but you have to have the right process playbooks and tech to ensure that when people come on board, they can help us so yeah, I think I think, you know, the reason why we are so obsessed with the idea of w two, the reason why we're so obsessed with the idea of tenure, or because that, you know, we're not putting enough emphasis on focus on onboarding, learning, and development. Yes, continuous training, right and, and figuring out how to get clear on role descriptions, clear on KPIs, the outcomes that need to be achieved. Those are the problems and those are harder to solve as if you were just like, oh, we need folks that are gonna stay with us for years, we need a W two who's obsessed with us. And it's like, well, if you were building the company with the right kind of process infrastructure, then you could plug people in and out and still be successful.
Valerie Bowden 30:14
I 100% agree that the companies I see who do the best when they build remote teams, they have that they have the process, the onboarding, and the KPIs clear. They have one person from their in-house team who's kind of in charge of the remote team. And people can just flow in and out. And there's no disruption to the end results. Like it's just like, it's almost like a science, like the system is so smooth. And it's beautiful when it
James Mackey 30:38
Works well. Because hey, but you hardly see it. And then it's like, you have this perpetual loop of frustration and people like, you know, quite honestly bitching about, like, oh, how come, people, aren't staying at my company for five years. And it's like, nobody wants to stay at your company like maybe some people do, but like people don't. So you can be stubborn and complain and try to fight this current. Or you could accept the reality that people don't want to stay at companies very long anymore. So your job as an executive is to figure out how to make your company thrive. And the reality of the market and the reality of the market is people are probably going to stay under two years. So how can you make your business thrive with an average tenure of one year, and figure out how to solve that problem? And then you get not only are you risked from important people leaving you can plug other people in. But it also opens you up to cost-saving solutions, building globally distributed teams, there's a lot of other benefits that when you get the process done correctly, it's going to help you run, there are so many efficiency gains that aren't even completely obvious at first, right?
Valerie Bowden 31:42
Yeah, I agree with that. And I would also say that another benefit of outsourcing to Africa is I think the retention rates are better. I don't have any data on that. But just my experience is that because local jobs are really hard to come by that pay well when they get a really good job with an international company where they feel like they're contributing, they're getting paid on time they're getting paid a good amount, like the retention rate is much higher. So you know, in the US as a job seeker, I would have so many different opportunities, so many different businesses, like so many great things. But when I was back in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the number of international companies who could pay a good rate and pay on time and do well, was significantly less. So I think, again, retention is one of the benefits of going to an African country if that's what a company is looking for.
James Mackey 32:32
Do you know if there are any trends on whether or not more international jobs are being created in Africa? And if so, which, like, Do you have any data on? Like, how fast do you pick the rate of increase for jobs or anything like that? That's okay if you don't, I'm just curious.
Valerie Bowden 32:47
I don't have any hard data, but I should find it. But I would just say from my experience, I feel like it's growing. I don't feel like it's first yet because I spend much of my days just getting over the stereotypes of outsourcing in Africa. But when I just look at, for example, Ethiopia, all of our partners there have quadrupled in size in the past year. And yeah, so I would say it's growing faster. And I think a lot of it's because of COVID people are just so much more open to remote positions or remote teams. So that's been a huge boost in that way.
James Mackey 33:22
Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. So that's really cool. And Valerie, I wanted to say thank you so much for joining us today. We're coming up on time here. So I appreciate your contribution. If folks want to engage with you and either reach out or just follow what you might be posting on LinkedIn or otherwise, what's the best way for them to engage with you?
Valerie Bowden 33:44
Okay, well, first, thanks for having me. I've had so much fun. I could talk about talent in Africa all day long. So yep, I do post daily on LinkedIn, like all kinds of insights and tips. So I'm on LinkedIn at Valerie Bowden.
James Mackey 34:02
Okay, cool. And we're also going to have your LinkedIn profile in the description. So anybody that wants to engage with Valerie, just look at the description within the podcast, and you can click through to her LinkedIn profile. And for everybody tuning in. Thank you so much for joining us today.
If you feel like you're getting value from these shows, we really appreciate your continued support. If you can leave us a review on Apple podcasts and Spotify, we appreciate it. We are currently number one in the country for talent acquisition on Apple podcasts and Spotify. So again, thanks so much. And we want to make sure that we're continuing to add more value to the community and spread the word so we will talk to you next time. Take care.