FAQ's about the MATCH Project
MATCH in General
With the world’s youngest and fastest-growing population, Africa is an untapped source for talent that can strengthen European companies’ workforce, brand and knowledge of local markets and consumers.
MATCH is a 36‑month initiative funded by the European Union (EU) aimed at providing highly skilled talents to private sector companies whose needs for qualified staff cannot be satisfied by the offer available on the EU labour market.
By joining MATCH, companies from Belgium, Italy, The Netherlands and Luxembourg will be supported with the sourcing and recruiting of African talents from Senegal and Nigeria, two countries offering a surplus of qualified professionals. In addition to the job placements, MATCH will also implement complementary activities such as skills development, capacity building and knowledge sharing between the participating EU and African countries.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) leads the overall implementation of the project.
Project partners support efforts in each of the four EU member states, including EUROCHAMBRES (regional), Agoria (BE), VDAB (BE), VOKA (BE), Unioncamere Piemonte (IT), IMS (LU), NABC (NL).
- Tackling structural labour shortages experienced on the European labour market due to democratic and socio-economic developments (e.g. ageing population, skill mismatch, digitalisation) by tapping into talent pools in Africa.
- Skills development: selected candidates will be offered various training organized by the individual companies
- Knowledge transfer: labour migrants will also be invited to engage in projects in their home country to facilitate skills and knowledge transfer to their communities of origin.
- Peer-to-peer capacity building: MATCH will facilitate the exchange between employer organizations and employment agencies in the four participating EU Member States and their counterparts in Senegal and Nigeria. Employer organizations and employment agencies in Nigeria and Senegal will benefit from capacity building training on labour market analysis, matching of labour supply with demand and exploring labour opportunities abroad. This will facilitate the roll-out of future labour mobility schemes benefiting countries of origin and destination alike.
The MATCH project focuses on filling structural labour shortages. In the Netherlands, companies suffer shortages primarily in the ICT, technology and digitalization sectors. The MATCH project is however also available to support companies active in other sectors.
Low cost - The MATCH project enables companies to recruit highly qualified candidates at low cost while complying with high ethical recruitment standards. The MATCH project does not charge any fees for launching a recruitment process. This is a considerable gain for companies given that recruitment fees required by commercial recruitment schemes tend to range between 15 – 20 per cent of a candidate’s first annual salary and can go as high as 30 per cent for hard-to-fill vacancies1
High quality - The MATCH project will provide high-quality matches of talent through selective advertisement, advanced skill assessment technologies and a network of reputable talent management providers.
Flexibility - The MATCH project offers flexibility to companies by introducing them to a qualified candidate in a short timeframe. This allows companies to adopt flexible hiring strategies that correspond to their needs and changing market demands. The project also supports the development of distance work arrangements at a time where international mobility is limited due to the COVID–19 pandemic. There is no legal obligation for companies to recruit from the pre-selected candidates if the selected profiles do not meet company talent needs or standards.
CSR standards - By participating in the MATCH project, companies can invest in the human capital of the young candidates and support skill development through training activities. During work placements, the MATCH project will facilitate candidate engagement with diaspora organisations and candidate participation in projects that support development in Africa. The MATCH project offers an opportunity to promote gender balance as we aim to select a minimum of 30 per cent of female candidates.
1.Source: NOS article "Zo veel vraag dat recruitmentbureau recruiter inschakelt voor recruiter"
Costs – Following the shortlisting of candidates, companies will bear the cost of their own final selection process (arranging additional tests, face-to-face/virtual interviews, etc.) and relocating successful candidates (e.g. flights, visas). Companies will remunerate candidates in accordance with standards that are imposed by the host country’s national legislation.
Obligations – Companies will sign a letter of commitment that outlines expectations associated with work performance, remuneration, working conditions, training requirements, living conditions, adherence to national legislation and adherence to IOM project conditions. Letters of commitment will be drafted on an individual basis to ensure that personalized expectations are reflected.
The aim of the MATCH project is to identify a total of 210 vacancies in the four targeted EU member states and to fill these with candidates from the two African countries. In the Netherlands, the aim is to fill 80 vacancies. Priority will be given to female candidates in order to reach at least 30 per cent female participation.
Within the three-year duration, the MATCH project will only support companies in four EU member states (The Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, the northern region of Piemonte in Italy) and candidates who are based in the two African countries (Nigeria and Senegal). Possible expansion to other countries will be explored for future phases of the project.
The Recruitment of Candidates
Specific criteria will depend on the requirements of each employer for each vacancy. While the MATCH project facilitates the screening and matching of candidates with the vacancies, ultimately, the selection criteria and subsequent selection of candidates is decided by the employer.
The MATCH project strives to empower women, and special considerations will be granted to uphold a gender balance amongst candidates.
Targeted recruitment will take place in Senegal and Nigeria with the support of reputable networks, recruitment agencies and public institutions.
A selection panel will be established in the two African countries with the support of the national employment agency, the Flemish public employment agency, VDAB, and Aldelia. Applications will be screened and a pre-selection will be carried out. A shortlist will be shared with the European employers for their final selection
Nigeria and Senegal offer a vast pool of talent and skills. Aldelia’s figures indicate that in Senegal, 80,000 individuals work in the ICT sector, and in Nigeria, 497,000 individuals work in the ICT sector. To request a typical candidate profile associated with a specific job title, contact the MATCH team.
Cédric Filet (Founder and CEO of Aldelia): “Every day we are amazed by the level of candidates that are signing up to our Areebajobs platform. There are more IMT graduates from Nigeria then from both France and Belgium together. It is not about IF we can find sufficient people or which programme languages are available, it is more about which version of java are you looking for and how many candidates do you need and then we will be able to find them. The population of Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg combined amounts to 27 million people, which is the population of Lagos (Nigeria) alone. The average age in terms of working population is 44 years old in Europe but only 18 in Nigeria. In other words, they have a very large young population of qualified individuals. In relative terms, the amount of talent available in Nigeria might be smaller than in European countries but in absolute terms, the number is much larger. In our experience, these young people are very hungry to learn. They are very entrepreneurial and dynamic. You just have to capture their energy in the right way and you will see that they are not only doers but are an added value to your company.”
The project partnership conducts robust monitoring and evaluation to ensure that the rights of both the employer and candidates are upheld for the full duration participation in the project.
Employers are obliged to follow national labour regulations and establish fair employment contracts in line with their national legislation and IOM IRIS principles. National chambers of commerce form part of the wider network of the MATCH project. The preselection of candidat
es is conducted by a recruitment panel comprising of recruitment experts from within and outside the project partnership. Technical tests will be systematically organized to ensure the selection of candidates with the strongest skills without external interference.
In order to establish remote working arrangements, it is essential that the local infrastructure is available. An assessment of the necessary infrastructure will be made by the project management team in coordination with the employer and the local employment agency Aldelia.
Existing networks within Nigeria and Senegal will also be approached to ensure that candidates have access to the necessary services and technology before employers agree to remote working.
Application Process for Interested Nigerian and Senegalese Candidates
The MATCH project will pre-select candidates from profiles that are collected by the talent management company Aldelia. The MATCH team cannot accept any unsolicited or individual applications. Instead, job seekers should express their interest directly with Aldelia. An applicant tracking system within Aldelia’s job platform Areebajobs tracks applications for participation in the MATCH project
Application Process for Interested Dutch Companies
Employers are encouraged to contact (email/phone) the project focal points at IOM the Netherlands and NABC to discuss their labour shortages and to outline necessary skills and profiles to fill their vacancies. Vacancy notices will be drafted in coordination with the employer before they are published.
There are several legal pathways available under the Dutch immigration law; much depends on the circumstances surrounding the recruitment of the candidate (age, intended salary during a work placement, duration of stay, employment conditions, the status of employer).
Once the company has provided the details of its vacancy, the MATCH team will support companies in identifying the most suitable pathway. The MATCH team works closely together with Migrantic tax and immigration lawyers, to offer Dutch companies the best legal advice. For more information on the different conditions and the types of visas/legal pathways to the Netherlands, please watch the recording of the second webinar on legal pathways and the MATCH project.
Partner Cooperation with Existing Talent Management Companies or Recruitment Agencies
As the project includes a training component for candidates during their placement in Europe, we would be interested to share thoughts with existing talent management companies. Please make sure to reach out to the MATCH team to discuss your proposal.
Response to COVID-19
The implementation of the MATCH project will fully comply with domestic (and international where applicable) regulations concerning the COVID-19 pandemic. Remote working arrangements are available to Dutch employers and can be coupled with an incubation phase to include measures that foster preparation, upskilling, induction and remote work until physical travel of candidates to the Netherlands is permissible. A range of incubation services is available upon request.
MATCH will also facilitate the recruitment of a limited number of Nigerian and Senegalese nationals who reside in Europe as an interim measure during COVID-related travel restrictions.