New platform connects local youth to the labor market

(Photo: Shoghul)
AMMAN — An issue facing a number of businesses in Jordan is the cost and availability of local labor, according to Shoghul and Challenger Team Founder Maen Odeh. Yet, unemployment rates in the country continue to rise.اضافة اعلان

Jordan’s Economic and Social Council country status report shows that official unemployment rates reached 23.9 percent in 2020.

To target this discrepancy, Shoghul, a recruitment and capacity-building platform, intends to train and connect Jordanian youth to vacancies in the labor market.

“Today, Jordanian youth, especially those in east Amman and other governates, don’t have the network or access to vocational jobs,” Odeh said in an interview with Jordan News.

The platform allows job seekers to create an account, build their resume, undergo a variety of simple training courses and learning quizzes and eventually, find job opportunities. Available for free, the courses include training on soft skills, business protocols and safety guidelines.

“There are a number of career-building platforms, but what set us apart is that we specialize in the vocational and labor jobs,” Odeh said. “We target local youth, women, and Syrian refugees, as well as employers in that sector.”

Employers in Jordan have been facing the issues of rising foreign labor costs, in addition to a lack of commitment by local employees, Odeh explains.

The influx of foreign workers is among the biggest challenges facing the labor economy, according to the Ministry of Labor’s 2019 annual report. In 2019, registered foreign workers made up almost 20.5 percent of the Jordanian workforce, the report states.

Among the strategies employed by the government to tackle this challenge a number of years ago was increasing the costs of work permits for foreign laborers. “The cost of foreign work permits skyrocketed,” Odeh explained. “This puts a huge burden on the small businesses, manufacturers and anyone who requires vocational laborers such as the construction sector.”

Yet, the tools in place to help connect the youth with employers in these sectors were lacking, Odeh said. This is where Shoghul comes in to address this gap in the market, serving employers that depend on vocational workers to maintain business.

WeDeliver, a delivery service for local restaurants and shops, views their partnership with the career platform to be useful. The company focuses on hiring young, local employees from east Amman as delivery drivers, said founder Abdulkareem Nabulsi in an interview with Jordan News.

“When I hire new employees, it sometimes turns out to be a waste of time and effort as after a month or so, it might not work out,” Nabulsi said. “This makes employment easier as I give them specific criteria and they help filter the employees to find a match.”

Additionally, according to market research conducted by Shoghul, employers complain about the lack of commitment by local employees who do not want to occupy labor roles. The founders believe that the platform’s training courses address this.

“It is very important to manage the expectations of job seekers to ensure long-term commitment,” Odeh said. “Through the courses that we are offering we tell them that work is not shameful; it’s a job that can help you get by and could open other doors for you.”

Another cultural stigma Shoghul is working to tackle is the employment of local women in labor roles that tend to be male dominated. “By collaborating with employers, we want to see how to create positions for women,” Odeh said. “There is a large population of women looking for jobs; they are not opposed to vocational work.”

Currently, the Shoghul team is working on finalizing the portal, securing funds, partnering with employers, and collaborating with community-based organizations to organize recruitment events. They aim to launch the updated portal mid-May.

Being an extension of the Challenger Team company, the Shoghul platform is one of several digitally based initiatives that arose in response to the coronavirus. “This platform is a part of our digital transformation adaptation approach to prepare youth to continue building their capacities and help them secure a better future,” Odeh said.

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