During a recent study visit to India, we were privileged to visit a dynamic organisation called Babajob, based in Bangalore. It connects about 1 000 blue-collar work seekers to employers who advertise on Babajob every working day, through mobile phones, a website and a call centre. Over the past three years, 900 000 jobs have been advertised by companies. To combat misuse, job seekers pay a subscription fee of 1 rupee (15c) per day. Its success rate is difficult to track, but 42% of employers advertise more than once. Visit www.babajob.com.
DGMT is seeking to develop a similar information hub for young people, through its support for Career Planet. In this regard, we were struck by Babajob’s ability to attract the interest of small and medium-size companies, because they are more likely than bigger corporations to employ unskilled and semi-skilled workers. We were also encouraged to see that a relatively small call centre of 8 people could handle the roughly 1 000 connections and enquiries a day. On the downside, we realised that the cost of mobile connections in South Africa – more than ten times that of India – undermines our ability to use new communication technologies for development. Sure, almost every South African has a cell phone, but few South African firms would respond to a job-seeker’s ‘please call me’.