Meklit is a 22-year-old, originating from Harer, Eastern Ethiopia. She is currently a fifth-year architecture student at Addis Ababa Science and Technology University where she will graduate in July 2023. She has big dreams and wants to own a large company that can provide employment opportunities for youth.
Meklit had been using social media platforms like Facebook, Telegram, and TikTok for networking until a friend recommended, she join a Telegram bot called Freelance Ethiopia, which connects jobseekers and employers for jobs with different levels of flexibility, such as for freelance, part-time, and remote work.
Meklit decided to join Freelance Ethiopia to gain experience searching for jobs and to understand the needs of the labour market and the interests of employers. After joining the platform, she quickly noticed significant demand and gaps in areas such as sales, graphics, and digital marketing. She realised there was an opportunity to address the demand and earn additional income to support her schooling. She completed a two-month training course with Golden Sales and Marketing Institute, as well as online courses in graphic design and digital marketing via Coursera and YouTube.
Meklit got the first job opportunity she applied for on Freelance Ethiopia, which was a graphic design opportunity that earned her 5,000 ETB. Following that, she continued to apply for different jobs that fit her qualifications so she could increase her experience and income. She has secured several opportunities through the platform, which include freelance, remote, intern, and part-time jobs in areas such as graphic design, sales, tutoring, and content development/digital marketing. She works during her semester and summer breaks, as well as on weekends and after regular class time. She earns an average monthly income that ranges from 7,000 ETB to 15,000 ETB from these jobs. Meklit tries to save at least a quarter of her income and uses the rest to cover her personal beautification and sanitary expenses, transportation, and school fees, as well as send some to her mother.
Meklit now recommends the Freelance Ethiopia platform to all her friends and family members. Compared to other job matching platforms, she finds it easy to access and use, and she likes that includes different categories of jobs, requires no registration, has no job matching costs, and jobs can be secured quickly. Based on her positive experience with Freelance Ethiopia, Meklit is working on building her profile on LinkedIn, Upwork, and other similar platforms to engage in more remote work as a freelancer, gain international experience, and run her own business after graduation.
Freelance Ethiopia is developed and run by Masero Technologies and advertising PLC, which was supported by LIWAY as part of an intervention to improve job matching for MSEs. LIWAY supported improvements to the old Telegram bot, which included the addition of user-friendly features based on user experiences and evidence-based market analytics to respond to the needs of jobseekers and employers. Mobile and web applications were also developed, which will be integrated with the Telegram bot, to provide automated end-to-end job-matching services at reduced costs, with support from call centre and interactive automated voice messaging services.
The new Telegram bot currently has more than 205,607 subscribers, which has increased by 119% from the old bot. This includes 187,000 active users, 31,585 registered jobseekers, 22 licensed start-ups, 87 unlicensed start-ups, 1,437 private clients, and 368 companies. Job postings have increased by 288.3% from the baseline and include permanent, part-time, contractual, freelance, remote work, and intern jobs. Masero Technologies is expanding the service to other emerging regional cities to provide segmented job-matching services in preferred local languages such as Afan Oromo, Somali, and Amharic.