Jobs, Fingertips Away




In the past, fresh graduates young men and women, flocked to Arat Kilo and La Gare areas in search of a job. These areas are known for their notice boards filled with various job posts and newspapers with vacancy announcements. Now, that trend is diverting to the digital system. Job seekers are using their devices and the Internet to search for jobs via text messages and websites. To serve them, the number of companies that engage in these services has reached 293 as of October 2017, reports FASIKA TADESSE, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.


For Samuel Hailu, last year’s Civil Engineering graduate from Wolaita Sodo University, searching for a job was challenging only for the first two months after his graduation. He was stuck with searching for work through vacancy announcements advertised on newspapers and different media outlets.

He also used various options including going to the major places and crowded streets in Addis such as Arat Kilo and La Gare areas to check notice boards for vacancy announcements. Additionally, he approached his relatives and friends to search jobs for him in their work areas.

But on the third month, he managed to learn about the various ways to search for a job, such as social media, websites and text messages. Hence, he subscribed to one of the job vacancy service providers’ website, Mobile Jobs Ethiopia (Mjobs), an online and mobile job alert platform.

In doing so, he became one of the 55,000 subscribers of this site, which was established five years ago by SOMETEC Trading Plc, an ICT and business-consulting firm specialised in information technology and management services. The company connects employers and job seekers via Short Message System (SMS) and its website.

He registered by feeding detailed information about himself into the system online, and for free to receive job alerts when Mjobs finds vacancies fit for Samuel. Mjobs sends summarised information of the vacancy announcement to his mobile phone.

The website aggregates job posts from the Internet, newspapers, notice boards and directly from employers and then sends it to the job seekers via their mobile phones or posts the vacancies on its website, making it available to anyone who visits its web page.

Besides the online subscription, Samuel has been following different social media pages, which advertise job vacancies. He receives vacancy announcements on his phone every day or every other day, charging him one Birr for a text from different SMS service providers including Mjobs.

Two weeks later, he applied at Asmelash & Sons Construction Plc, one of over 100 grade one construction companies in the country; he was called for an interview after passing the initial screening process.

The website aggregates job posts from the Internet, newspapers, notice boards and directly from employers and then sends it to the job seekers via their mobile phones or posts the vacancies on its website, making it available to anyone who visits its web page.



Samuel, one of the 127,275 undergraduate and 10,468 postgraduate candidates who graduated from public and private universities in the 2015/16 fiscal year, was able to pass the interview and the written exam of the company.

Finally, he was hired by the company as a Site Engineer for a monthly salary of 3,500 Br. While using this recruitment alternative, the company assisted him in many ways. He received training from the company for a week on the preparation of cover letters and getting ready for interviews, and exams for a payment of around 500 Br.

Samuel got this fortunate opportunity following the success of job searching options available for job seekers that graduate from different public and private higher educational institutions. The number of graduates is increasing year after year with an average rate of close to 13.2pc.

These recruitment options can also take the credit for the decrease in the urban unemployment rate. In the past year, the unemployment rate went down to 16pc from 16.8pc in 2015.

And currently, the number of companies which provide such services is emerging.

So far, a total of 293 companies have been registered to operate as recruitment companies via text messages and websites, under value-added services category of the Ministry of Communication & Information Technology (MCIT) Standardisation & Regulatory Directorate.

The trend is emerging as a tech-savvy group, which is friendly with the Internet understands the value of registering their credentials on these websites, according to Tewodros M. Delelegn managing director and founder of Jobs.et, a spin-off from the online classifieds platform HelloMerkato launched two years ago.

“Age group from 18-38 currently dominates our database,” said Tewodros. “From all fields of professions, the list of fresh graduates is growing significantly as they seem to be the most tech-savvy group, who understand the value of registering their credentials on a well-curated job board to increase their visibility and to effectively market themselves.”

He neither visited notice boards nor referred newspapers to search for a job and never requested his relatives and friends to search for jobs. Instead, he used only websites and text messages to get jobs.



One such youth is Biniam Shawol, who is in his early 20s. Biniam is a fresh graduate in management from Addis Abeba University School of Business & Economics. Since his graduation in July 2017, he has managed to get over five jobs, but he was selective in choosing the right job that would enable him to pursue his dream.

He neither visited notice boards nor referred newspapers to search for a job and never requested his relatives and friends to search for jobs. Instead, he used only websites and text messages to get jobs.

He registered on Mjobs as a job seeker in July, a little earlier than his graduation. Since his registration, he received about 20 messages related to his field, charging him one Birr a message via 8874.

The messages have details about the employing company, such as its requirements and location. He has used the addresses from the text messages to drop off his credentials at the companies. Finally, he settled for the job of a Lecturer at Haromaya University for a monthly salary of 5,700 Br, with the wish to pursue his Master’s degree.

“Even after getting a job, I still receive messages for vacant positions at different companies,” said Biniam.

The human resources recruiting sector is one of the areas that will immensely benefit from this offline to online shift, according to Tewodros.

Jobs.et offers employers three different packages that range from an entry package for  Small & Micro Enterprises (SMEs) to a premium package for the larger employers with frequent recruitment needs.

For Hilina Legesse, regional coordinator of Info Mind Solutions Plc and developer of Ethiojobs, the trend is emerging, and companies are becoming more familiar with these platforms to recruit employees.

One of the pioneers in this service, Info Mind Solutions, was established 13 years ago, via its website Ethiojobs. Since its inception, it has facilitated access to jobs for more than half a million job seekers in the country, and it has supported over 1,500 employers to reach an unprecedented range of job seekers.

On average, Ethiojobs advertises more than 6,000 jobs per year. Following the demand for the new graduates, the company has also launched an online platform explicitly geared towards fresh graduates and those in their junior level of professional development called Dereja.com since 2016.

Ethiojobs and Dereja have additional features such as tips, advice and articles that assist job seekers to stay on top of their game when it comes to making the right career choices and staying informed of the trends in such a competitive job market.

“Based on a survey we conducted a year ago, more than 85pc of the jobs advertised are filled by candidates applying through the platform,” said Hilina.

In addition to providing online job advertisement, the company also offers services such as direct recruitment through its talent search department, headhunting, assessment centre design, personnel and payroll management, and consultancy and training services in HR areas.

“It has a holistic, client-focused service model and vision to tackle the youth unemployment epidemic in our country,” said Hilina.

These companies do not operate for free, but they only charge the employer companies. Ethiojobs charges a job advertisement fee for firms advertising their openings on the platform. It merits employers in getting employees recruited as they can upload their job vacancies and search for potentially suitable staff.

Ethiojobs offers different for job posting package to stay online from 30 days to a year. For these packages, the company charges employers between 2,000 Br and 14,700 Br. It also provides executive search, personnel and payroll management, and HR consultancy and training services.

The same is true for Jobs.et, which has three different packages with different prices ranging from no charge for the first stage to 3,200 Br for six months of vacancy announcements for unlimited job posts.

“The most important benefit that our company accrues is the recognition we get from candidates and employers alike,” said Tewodros. “The service fee we charge is secondary although it is also an important driver for our venture to continue its growth and to provide innovative services.”

For text alerts, companies such as SOMETEC charge the job seekers one Birr, sharing 40cents with the service provider Ethio telecom.

But Melaku Woldemichael, founder and general manager of SOMETEC does not seem to be completely happy with the amount he earns from the job vacancy SMS business, as he believes that the earning is too minimal compared with the service his company provides.

However, this does not mean that the companies are operating smoothly, but with a couple of challenges. One of them is the Internet connection outage; secondly, inaccurate perception of job seekers who believe all advertised positions are processed and recruited by them and third is the overwhelming number of applications from unqualified candidates due to the ease of application.

With these new platforms, employers and job seekers enjoy advantages, as employers fill their positions promptly, while people like Samuel and Biniam, get access to jobs anytime and anywhere on any device supported by Internet connectivity.

By FASIKA TADESSE
FORTUNE STAFF WRITER





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