Olalekan Olude, cofounder, Jobberman, explains the motive behind Jobberman, the strides and training facilities the organization offers apart from traditional labour outsourcing which Jobberman is known for.
Jobberman has been known for a while in Nigeria, can you tell us about the evolution of Jobberman
The idea of Jobberman first came to life at the Obafemi Awolowo University. The company was founded by Opeyemi Awoyemi, Olalekan Olude, and myself during the Industrial Strike Action by Nigerian Academic Staff Union (ASUU) of August 2009. This was a period of rapid internet penetration into the country and the available jobs were the only prominent in local newspapers. We understood the huge gap between Employers and job seekers at the time, and foresaw the opportunity to create a service that would help lives by solving the nagging issue of unemployment. We wanted more people to access more jobs anywhere and in real time using our jobs portal; as opposed to combing newspapers with minimum success. We also did not want to graduate and join the enormous pool of unemployed youths in the labor market. We agreed to work on the Jobs space for a number of reasons, including: a low capital requirement (considering we were students at that time), huge market opportunity (labor force of about 45million people) and superior product differentiation. This was the foundation upon which the company was built.
Can you say that Nigerian corporate space truly understand the concept behind Jobberman as a firm?
The Nigerian Corporate space, understands Jobberman on the broad view of connecting Employers and Talent using the internet. Using Jobberman.com, Corporations can advertise available jobs and receive applications from the candidates they need for their businesses to be successful. Over the years we have been able to establish relationships with over 50,000 companies that currently use our platform for recruitment. But on a more intricate level, we have expanded our solutions to include end to end recruitment and HR advisory, blue collar hiring, training and career development, internship placements, CV evaluations and rewrite, and more. We share information daily to enlighten and update corporations on these business solutions.
The issue of quality manpower and skill set has been the cry of employers, how true is this and how can it be rectified?
It is very true that employers find it challenging to match jobs to talent. When Jobbberman was first launched, the mandate was to solve the problem of unemployment. As the business advanced, it was evident that there was not just an employment problem but also one of employability. It was for this particular reason, that Jobberman launched its learning/educational subsidiary – called “Jobberman Learning”, with the prime purpose of providing relevant education in the workplace, and making candidates more employable. In Jobberman Learning, we have carefully studied the job market and identified the skill gaps that exist. We are constantly updating the Jobberman Learning platform with quality courses that help equip candidates with these lacking skills.
Are you looking at offering your services in public space ?
We are already doing this. We have worked with Federal Government agencies and State Governments before now on Employment projects. Currently, we have ongoing partnerships on Employability initiatives with the Government to improve the quality of job candidates across the nation, thereby preparing candidates for job opportunities and eventual employment.
They said that outsourcing of labor and employment is handing the workers short end of the stick, how true is this?
It is not true that outsourcing keeps labor on the losing end. This is a general misconception. Outsourcing is not only limited to low cadre jobs. Technically, companies tend to outsource roles that are not critical to their core daily business activities. For example, a customer service firm will not outsource its customer service function, but a manufacturing firm can. This is not to say that there is a high labor supply and therefore a need to pay less. From a statistical point of view, the number of outsourced roles is high, as a result of the fact that companies want to focus on their core competencies. This, however, does not translate into the need for cheap labor. Outsourcing companies are now being required to provide basic welfare benefits for their staff. Companies also outsource specialized professionals to other companies. These professionals are not always on the short end of the stick. From a people’s perspective, a contracted staff may want to come in for a shorter number of hours in a day, such a staff does not benefit from staff policies such as leave days. This is not short changing the staff ,but more about the agreed work model.
Can we say that you are offering services to other African countries. Are you looking at this ?
Jobberman is not only the market leader in Nigeria but also in Ghana. We also have sister companies in East Africa. We are definitely looking at expanding to other countries, not just in Africa alone. The problem of unemployment is not just a Nigerian or African factor, but a global one.
Capacity building and training is one thing most organizations don’t do. Do you do such things for the organization?
At Jobberman we are passionate about the development of our staff. Our business model requires a lot of learning-on-the-go, but we make it imperative that our staff upgrade their skills in a timely fashion. This is to ensure they have all the right skills, tools and support they need to be successful at who they are and what they do. We readily make available to staff, trainings that are relevant to their roles, from time to time.
What has been your corporate social responsibility lately?
Our most recent CSR was working with the Lagos State Government in the Ready-Set-Work project (RSW) designed to train and empower final year university students of Lagos tertiary institutions in employability and entreprenurship. These students go through 13 weeks of training in Employability and Entrepreneurship skills with outstanding students scoring seed funding for great business ideas and paid internships for prospective interns. Jobberman is to successfully connect 30 out of 100 of these students to prospective employers for free through our Internship business subsidiary-Stutern by Jobberman.
Nigerian labour laws are not enacted or improved upon. We see a lot of disparity in wages, especially amongst the expatriate and local workers. How can this be corrected?
The main problem lies, not in the disparity in wages but more of a Talent Gap for available jobs. Fixing talent problems so that roles that are filled by expatriates can be successfully given to qualified local talent is a way to solve this problem. Even when the local talent qualify for such roles, companies still go ahead to outsource expatraits, this is where the Government needs to enforce the expert quota system to tackle this issue and ensure the practice does not persist.
What are the challenges that Jobberman faces today in Nigeria?
Our major challenge is the reduction of available jobs, especially due to recession. We however strive to keep abreast with emerging trends in different industries, and are quick to identify potential recruitment needs & quickly gather & prepare candidates for such roles.
The other challenges of considerable significance are the falling level of education, and the skills gap between available roles and candidates. We are presently tackling the skills gap problem via the Jobberman Learning subsidiary which provides certified trainings for professional development and advancement.
Over the years we have been able to establish relationships with over 50,000 companies that currently use our platform for recruitment. But on a more intricate level, we have expanded our solutions to include end to end recruitment and HR advisory, blue collar hiring, training and career development, internship placements, CV evaluations and rewrite, and more. We share information daily to enlighten and update corporations on these business solutions.