Unemployment is a serious challenge that many nations across the continent are struggling to solve. Despite South Africa’s position as one of Africa’s largest economies, its joblessness statistics are disheartening. Quartz Africa reports that 25 percent of the country’s workforce is out of work. Looking at the youth alone, the unemployment rate jumps to a shocking 50 percent.
Giraffe is a new digital platform that aims to reduce these numbers, and the difficulties faced by the real people and families those numbers represent. The purpose of the site is simple: “to give jobseekers access to the workplace through their phones.”
Quartz Africa reports:
“…Giraffe is not an app, but a mobisite. It’s a cost-effective user-friendly site that harks back to the early days of mobile internet, giving jobseekers who don’t have a smartphone access to the service with a feature phone. It’s specifically aimed at low-income workers earning between $200 and $1000 a month.”
This income range means that instead of exclusively targeting executives or up-and-coming professionals, Giraffe also recruit workers for the service, retail, and sectors. South Africa’s employment situation is so tough that these groups often overlap. According to Quartz Africa:
“Graduates have taken to street corners begging for work, their resumes and degree certificates often in their backpacks, ready for any opportunity. They’re not the only ones. It’s become a common scene to see a group of tradesman sitting on the sidewalk near mega hardware stores, shopping their skills—painter, plumber, tiler—in the hope that someone will hire them.”
The founders of Giraffe, Botswana-born Shafin Anwarsha and Anish Shivdasani of the UK, took the widespread nature of the problem under consideration as they went about creating their site. For example, they traveled far from their top-floor office in Johannesburg’s business district to township where unemployment is heavily concentrated. Then they combined the jobseekers’ feedback with their research into the needs of the employers.
The results have been outstanding so far: 100,000 users have signed up since Giraffe launched in February 2015, and 70 percent of them have been successfully matched with a job. Their success has attracted many investors and partners, including South Africa’s Cell C mobile service, which connects Giraffe users to free Facebook access, and telecom giant Vodacom, which will allow users to access to Giraffe itself without deducting from their data plans.
As with many job recruiting platforms, employers pay to list jobs while jobseekers can search Giraffe and apply for any job at no cost. Employers are signed up with a “promise to deliver a row of suitable candidates, ready to interview.”
Giraffe makes good on their promise by having both the employers and jobseekers to complete online forms that use an algorithm to match the best candidates with the most suitable jobs. The site adds value to the jobseeker’s experience by forwarding helpful information and tips about the upcoming interview.