A new mobile innovation means jobs are just a phone call away

Posted By: Rise Team|Dated: September 27, 2011

The importance of education and skills in being qualified for decent jobs is well-recognized. But in many developing countries, the job search itself is a prohibitive challenge due to low literacy and limited access to the internet —particularly for blue-collar workers. Imagine how being able to search and apply for jobs over mobile phones could transform the job search.

Mobile Innovation Means Jobs

Disconnect between jobs and job seekers

 

India is home to roughly 370 million blue-collar workers, many of them residents of rural areas where poverty rates are high, literacy rates are low, and technology isn’t readily available. These workers don’t belong to a database or career connect website that informs them of job opportunities.  Information is extremely patchy and limited, impeding the market’s ability to balance labor supply with demand.

In response, job providers and job seekers alike often turn to an employment agency for help. But because these agencies have no direct interface with businesses, they’re often forced to rely solely on references rather than past performance or actual skill.

Workers in the informal sector are at an even greater disadvantage. Tips about informal job opportunities are almost exclusively delivered by word of mouth or by waiting at pick-up locations for odd jobs, making the job search all too dependent on relationships and luck.

A smart way to remove a communication barrier

Blue-collar workers may not have access to the internet or be fully literate, but most of them do have mobile phones. Saral Rozgar, an innovative venture by CanvasM, is a VAS (Value Added Service) platform that directly connects job seekers with potential employers via SMS, voice, or the Web. The system neatly removes the two biggest hurdles in the job search process—literacy and accessibility.

With Saral Rozgar, job seekers and job providers are linked through a common database that can be easily accessed through mobile phones. Since all the features are available via voice, and in several different languages, literacy and language barriers are eliminated.

For the first time, industrial, part-time, and daily and weekly wage earners in the informal sector can access organized information about employment opportunities, and workers in the formal sector can get a more complete view of available opportunities.  Able to browse a larger candidate pool, employers are better able to find the best candidates.

How it works

To join the system, candidates register through a simple phone call. Web registration is also available for those with web-enabled phones or internet access.

Employers can register and post a job by voice or Web. After a job is posted, employers receive a list of matching candidates through their mobile phones; they use this list to send an alert to job seekers they are interested in. This way, employers in even the most remote areas can post jobs and review candidates at any time.

Selected candidates receive an alert via SMS or a voice call, inviting them to apply for the position either through a phone call or online. The employer receives the application and employee contact details online or via SMS. If it looks like a potential match, they can request permission to contact the candidate.

Repairing imperfect information to facilitate the labor market

 

Saral Rozgar offers a low-cost solution that’s readily accessible and easy to use for everyone—regardless of education, finances, geography, or access to the internet.  Since its launch on 3rd June 2011, Saral Rozgar has served 30,000 blue-collar workers across India.  So far, more than 200 employers have posted 2,000 job openings.

The concept was recognized with an award for “Excellence in Innovation with Rural Telecom Focus” at the 5th National Telecom Awards 2011 on May 17.

 

 

Saral Rozgar removes the communication barrier that impedes many Indians’ ability to find jobs through a simple innovation. What other employment-search barriers do you see for blue- or white-collar workers in India? What hurdles do employers face? What else can we do to fine-tune the employment process?

 

 

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