By Mark Kawalya
Juliet Makori was a frustrated woman. The accountant had been jobless for three years despite an intensive job search spanning the duration of that time. “I almost gave up and went back to the village to do farming.” she says. Her luck only turned around a year ago when she shifted her job search to Fuzu a website that provides a link between workers and employers. After a round of interviews, she got her first job with a local child-based NGO.
‘It is hard to find a job in Nairobi.’ is a saying that is thrown around quite a bit in Kenya. Job seekers with good qualifications struggle just as much as anyone else due to the stiff competition. This is not surprising as Nairobi is considered one of the toughest job markets in Africa.
Fuzu is a net-based career furthering platform that focuses on supporting job seekers with employment opportunities so they can build meaningful careers. The company also offers support to companies in managing their recruitment processes by aiding talent searches and management. The firm has been in operation for the last six years and can be accessed from a computer or a mobile phone.
Jussi Hinkkanen, CEO of Fuzu says that of Kenya’s 18 million economically active workers, only 3 million of them were officially employed. “That means that 15 million are either doing agricultural work or have informal jobs like drivers, carpenters, or small-scale entrepreneurs,” he says. “Forty percent are either completely or partly unemployed. It is common to earn a living from many small sources. Kenya has a special name – hustlers – for people who work like this.”
Corruption is a major issue in the Kenya labour market. Wayward bossed often demand that new employees surrender their first month’s pay to get hired. Other times, job applicants are asked to pay so they can be called for interviews.
Fuzu allows job seekers to fill out a profile on their website which showcases their academic credentials and employable skills. The website automates this information and uses it to line up the applicant with potential employers.
The website compares the information with that of other applicants and presents the company seeking to employ a list of the best candidates to recruit.
Fuzu focuses on giving back to the community and has made it free for job seekers to use the service and only charges employers a fee for helping them find the right candidate. This saves them considerable time as they do not have to wade through many job applications to find the right fit for a position.
According to Hinkkanen, another advantage of Fuzu is that the platform has built a community for its users so they can share stories and encourage one another during this tough period.
“We create a feeling of togetherness. Dream, grow, be found. We aim to make Fuzu a one-stop service containing everything necessary for finding a job and developing your career.”