In this day and age when minimum wage in most countries does little to lift people out of poverty, technology can help turn the tide.
Emprego Ligado, a blue-collar employment site in São Paulo, connects unskilled workers to the jobs closest to their homes, saving people time and money that would be spent on tedious commutes in the most populous metropolitan area in the Americas.
Call centers, construction sites, cleaning companies, and the service industry typically experience high turnover rates in a city where getting to work can take hours. People who have cars inch their way through massive traffic jams, and people who don’t crawl along in crowded buses and mini vans. While São Paulo’s metro and train lines transport almost 7.5 million passengers every day, it’s still not enough to ease rush hour as millions of people commute to work.
Having a job close to home can make a huge difference for the vast majority who earn a minimum wage of 724 reais (US $310) per month. But how to find those jobs if you can barely read, don’t have email and can’t access online options? In Brazil’s labor market of 102 million people, only about 15 million have any education beyond high school. That’s 87 million people who don’t know what a resumé is and have never used a personal computer. However, every single one of them does have a cell phone. Jacob Rosenbloom, CEO and co-founder of Emprego Ligado, had the bright idea of connecting candidates and employers using the simplest mobile technology in the world.
Job seekers create a profile online or by calling a phone number. Once they are registered in the system, they get job offers matching their profile via SMS. They can apply and set up an interview by answering the SMS. If they are not interested, they are encouraged to forward the job offer to family and friends, to help build the network. The service is free for workers; employers pay a fee to access Emprego Ligado’s database for recruitment purposes. The most important criteria for a successful match is proximity between a person’s home and the workplace because it dramatically reduces turnover rates and increases worker productivity.
At a media roundtable on the future of work during SAPPHIRE NOW in Orlando, Rick Costanzo, EVP and general manager of Global Mobility Solutions at SAP, pointed out that mobile is the most prevalent technology in emerging markets. Rosenbloom agreed. “We really spent some time thinking about the vogue in emerging markets and how to reach middle and lower income job candidates. Our company was born mobile in response to the frustrations of doing business in Latin America where growth is constrained because of virtual infrastructure. We thought about the tools available for lower class consumers on the job market. They don’t pay for profiles; they have no credit on their phones. They communicate using the simplest language as if they are talking to their mother or a friend, so we’ve adapted to their level of colloquialism. Their needs are urgent; they don’t have time to wait for jobs.”
Rosenbloom went on to explain that his company is running a mobile business without apps because most people using his services can’t afford smartphones. Standard SMS messaging is still the best way to communicate with people who often pass their phones from father to son to neighbor. Today, Emprego Ligado has hundreds of thousands of profiles in its database and is set to expand its SMS-based job board across Brazil.
Part of SAP’s Emerging Entrepreneurs Initiative, Emprego Ligado was selected from more than 500 candidates to receive a package including software, exclusive mentorship and participation at SAP events such as SAPPHIRE and SAP Forum in Brazil.
Follow me on Twitter: @magyarj.
This story originally appeared on SAP Business Trends.