About Careers SL
At Careers.sl, we are helping make labor markets more inclusive, innovative, flexible, and transparent. Careers.sl explores and leverages innovative low-cost ways in bringing job-seekers and employers together. Using technological paradigms like the Internet, WAP, and SMS, we lower the search cost and barrier to information for both job-seekers and employers, providing basic labor market information to them and a centralized meeting point wherein the two groups can interact. Through the provision of labor market information, Careers.sl aims to help overcome issues contributing to labor market failure based on unavailability, high search cost, and asymmetric access to basic labor market information facing both job-seekers and employers. Unavailability and high search cost of job opportunities is a common theme in the cries of job-seekers while lack of qualified candidates to fill their positions is commonly heard from recruiters. However, there are both job opportunities and qualified candidates in the labor market; the reason for the seeming lack of both is a resultant of the in-existence of a centralized environment wherein both job-seekers and employers can fulfill their search requirements. In its simplest form, Careers.sl is a job-search engine wherein employers can publish their job adverts and receive applications from a much wider and diverse talent pool, and job-seekers can search through hundreds of job applications and apply to ones that appeal to them.
Our labor market information comes in two main formats, public dissemination of active vacancies from around the country and provision of occupational and industrial trend analysis. This information is provided through a Labor Market Information System (LMIS) we built in-house over the course of the last two years. Apart from being a job-search engine, the LMIS provides quantitative and qualitative information and intelligence on the labor market that can assist labor market agents in making informed plans, choices, and decisions related to their business requirements, career planning, education and training offerings, job search, recruitment, labor policies and workforce investment strategies.
The LMIS though a complex piece of software behind the scenes, interfaces with the Web, SMS technology and Facebook to allow easy access to it, taking into consideration the high computer illiteracy and poor Internet infrastructure in our society.
Careers.sl has a high developmental value associated with it, this stems from the fact that it lowers the search cost and barrier to information for actors in the labor market place thus marking information more readily available, and increasing the quality and quantity of option sets.
Assists employees or job seekers by:
- Improving access to vacancy information
- Reduce time and cost for job search by cutting a travel cost from rural to urban area and receiving job matching information via mobile phone
- Increase the chance of employment through getting access to more job openings information in a quick and cost-efficient manner, and receiving advice, training, and services to make their work experience and skills look more professional and attractive to employers
- Helping them identify current and future job market opportunities;
- Helping them make decisions about their future career development by providing information on the needs of the labor market;
- Potential increase of income by accessing a better job
Assists employers to:
- Make better hiring decisions by improving the quantity, diversity and quality of their resume pool.
- Increased hiring efficiency due to our online application management tools provided to manage, sort and filter received applications
- Reduce recruiting time by receiving candidates’ latest information on a real-time basis
- Access information on skills available on the labor market;
- Make decisions about upgrading their employees’ skills;
- Reducing recruiting cost
- Ability to hire people for entry level and low-skill level job, which is sometimes difficult to conduct with existing recruiting services
Assists the Government of Sierra Leone, policy markers and NGOs by:
- Providing trends, analysis and indicators on the status of our labor market
- Providing key indicators on demand and supply of labor in Sierra Leone
- Means by which labor related policies and programs can be evaluated
Assist education providers by:
- Helping them align course provision with labor market needs through the analysis of labor market trends.
Our biggest advantage is that we provide a centralized and easily accessible information source. A lot of the problems facing people especially the Youths today can be traced back to the nonavailability or high search cost of the information they need to make informed decisions or act upon.
Institutional and Policy Development:
- Using our data visualization platform currently in-development, policy-makers can use data generated from job-seeker-employer interaction in our job search engine to get both high-level and in-depth overview of the status of different planes of the labor market. These reports will generally be in form of system generated graphs and charts; however, they also have the option to download raw data for custom manipulation and charting. This information can be narrowed down using filters and used to help policy-makers make informed decisions.
- The same platform mentioned in the former point, can be used by policy-makers as a measuring tool to monitor and measure the success of their policies as the effect of these policies on job-seeker, employer interaction can be seen from the platform.
- Careers.sl has the potential to promote youth empowerment is various ways:
- By providing a forum, our online forum, through which youths can discuss employment related issues and make their voices heard.
- By providing them with a centralized and easily accessible source of information on job opportunities.
- By providing them with occupational trend analysis so that they can make informed decisions regarding career choice and further education
- By providing them with a rich source of articles and career advice.
Our platform aims to provide a centralized source of employment information, internships included, from around the country. This lowers the unavailability, high search cost, and barrier to information on employment opportunities currently being experienced by the Youths and provides readily available source of information on vacancies and internship opportunities.
With so many Sierra Leoneans being either computer illiterate and even more having no or limited access to computing infrastructure, the benefit of our solution seems limited to the few subset capable of using and having access to computers.
Knowing this, much research and planning effort was put into exploring avenues through which the benefits of our platform can be realized by the large disadvantaged group. We decided to leverage the rich dispersion enjoyed by mobile phones even in rural areas as an alternative service delivery medium.
Mobile Internet & Wireless Application Protocol (WAPs) – Many Sierra Leonean use their mobile devices to access the Internet and this number is on the rise because of the continued cheapen of these devices. Our access logs show that more than 60% of our traffic is mobile-based. As a result, Careers.sl’s web-interface implements a responsive design which changes the look of the site based on the size of the viewing device. This ensures that our mobile users are presented with an interface optimized for their viewing experience. You can see an example of this by visiting http://careers.sl with your mobile device if it is Internet capable or using your browser and resizing it until its is very small.
SMS Integration – Users can search for jobs using SMS which is available to all phones regardless of its simplicity. Example:
Sending “Search [job-type]” e.g “Search accountant” to 2424 using an Africell line will return the four of the latest vacancies matching that job type in the case of our example, accountant
By sending “Notify [job-type]” to 2424, you are automatically subscribed to receive sms notifications whenever vacancies of that type is available.
We are currently working on exposing more of our system to SMS.
In the future, depending on the budget at our disposal and the adoption of our service by end users, we plan on implementing an Interactive Voice response system that will allow job-seekers to search through our vacancy database by calling the system and speaking the keyword they want to search on. The system will then reply, using a computerized voice, reading out the result of the user’s query. This will be implemented in English and Krio.
Promoting end user awareness – Our awareness campaign is not only one of user awareness but involves taking users through several milestones from a point of being unaware of our services unto regular use. This journey requires concerted and resource intensive marketing methods requiring readily available resources.
Ensuring that our service remains free – The service is completely free to job-seekers and we plan for that to remain so. However, our operation has huge financial cost associated with it that will only be offset by your support.