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The digital edge: Now, blue-collar job seekers are going places

The digital edge: Now, blue-collar job seekers are going places

BY Sovon Manna • PUBLISHED 9th May, 2016

If you thought online job hunt is only for white-collar aspirants, think again.

With the penetration of low-cost smartphones and easy access to internet, our courier boys, maids, ayahs, drivers, telecallers, e-tail deliverymen, carpenters and masons have also taken to job portals to connect with potential employers.

The blue-collar job market has started reaping the benefits of innovative human resource (HR) technology adopted by enterprising job portals, which are doubling up as aggregators. And mobile apps, data analytics, profile-matching software, data logs and even missed calls are offering these lower-end aspirants well-paid and suitable jobs like never before.

Today, Shrishti Saha is a permanent tele-caller in a multi-national finance institution drawing Rs 12,000 every month, while Mukesh Poddar cannot think of leaving his eight-hour chauffeur's job in an engineering firm. But language was one barrier that the non-English medium-bred candidates like Saha and Poddar had to face.

Babajob.com took the fast-mover advantage. The leading online blue-collar job portal — with over six million registered job seekers — has come up with a multi-lingual interactive voice response system (IVRS). "Over 800,000 offline job seekers have access to our free pan-India IVRS services. By operating purely through mobile phones, this system allows job seekers to create a profile, find and apply for relevant jobs, regardless of their educational background," said Vir Kashyap, co-founder & chief operating officer, Babajob.com.

Babajob submits over 550,000 applications per month for jobs across 26 categories, all for free. Employers have posted over 5.4 million job opportunities with an average salary of Rs 10,700. Pallav Sinha-led MeraJobs uses voice logs and video logs to give its candidates a real edge along with their CVs. The two-minute snippety voice or video recordings of the aspirants provide a fair idea about them to their would-be employers, who had relied on online-offline agency recommendations so far. "It's time to take a technological leap from the cross-functional and less-focused job hunters for lower-end jobs," said Sinha.

Aasaanjobs.com primarily banks on its mobile app, which has been downloaded by 57,000 aspirants since it was unveiled last June. "I don't think we are revolutionizing the blue-collar job market. We are just giving an easy access to good jobs. Today, common people are quite comfortable with apps," said Dinesh Goel of Aasaanjobs. His site customises job categories through an algorithm.

Use of technology also minimizes the chances of exploitation and fraudulent activities, which are prevalent in the low-paid job market. Anupam Sinhal, founder of two prominent blue-collar job portals, Nanojobs.com and BookmyBai.com, says: "Lack of education, paucity of knowledge and language barrier make it tougher to find a good job in this unorganized general blue-collar market."

According to Babajob's Kashyap, it is not the job aspirants who have to be equipped with technology, the service providers should also support a job seeker. "Say, a cook is willing to work in a particular locality in Tier I or Tier II market and is skilled in Japanese cuisine. Here, technology comes as an immense help with a perfect search," added Kashyap.

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