Digital technologies are unlocking new pathways for rapid economic growth, innovation, job creation, and access to services that would have been unimaginable only a decade ago. LIWAY is working not only to accelerate the adoption and expansion of digital technologies in Ethiopia but also to ensure services can be accessed by the underserved, particularly job information and matching services.
Current labour exchange infrastructure is exclusionary
The existing labour exchange infrastructure and job matching services in Ethiopia are not suitable for women and youth jobseekers. This is mainly due to unaffordable costs to travel long distances from their residences, high service charges, unreliable information, and risk of exposure to gender-based violence. Moreover, poorer women and youth do not have equal opportunities to compete for available vacancies.
Yet, at the same time, employers struggle to fill particular vacancies within a reasonable time period, and those that are filled may be by candidates who are not best suited for the job.
Digital technologies can disrupt the current trajectory
Digital technologies provide a chance to disrupt the current trajectory towards an increasing gap between those who need jobs the most and unfilled or poorly filled vacancies. But poor women and youth need to be shepherded along the digital journey.
LIWAY has been carefully designing digital-based interventions to facilitate the development of effective and appropriate labour exchange infrastructure that both ensures employers find more appropriate candidates while also helping jobseekers find more and better paying jobs with reduced time and effort.
Delivering a portfolio of digital-based interventions
In cooperation with implementing partners, LIWAY is delivering a portfolio of digital-based interventions for the labour market. These include:
- Creating Employment Opportunities with Digital Connection Platform: LIWAY supported G-Online Advertising PLC to undertake service enhancement and expansion work to improve its existing GoodayOn Gig Work Connection Platform, as well as to establish a call centre and SMS service to onboard those who are less familiar with technology or who do not have access. LIWAY also supported intensive marketing activities. Due to LIWAY’s support, the workforce pool grew from 2,000 to 35,000, and to date, 6,044 gig workers (2,840 female) have been connected with employers.
- Improved Job Matching Services for MSEs: LIWAY supported Masero Technologies and Advertising PLC to strengthen its capacity to develop different platforms such as an enhanced Telegram bot and mobile application and web portal, as well as to provide end-to-end automated job matching services for jobseekers and employers. The newly developed Telegram bot (Afriwork-Freelance) has reached 206,233 subscribers (a 119% increase from the old Telegram bot), including 31,585 jobseekers. Job postings have increased by 288% from the baseline, and to date, new jobs have been facilitated for 3,991 jobseekers (1,891 female) through the old and new Telegram bot.
- Online and Offline Job Matching Platform for Enhanced Employment: LIWAY partnered with TradEthiopia Commissioning to facilitate job matching through a mobile application and web portal (enisra.com), as well as through a call centre and movable job corners to cater for jobseekers without smartphones and internet connectivity, as well as for digitally illiterate users. In 2022, TradEthiopia developed the web portal and started jobseeker registration, job posting, and matching services. To date, more than 15,000 users have been registered through the web portal and call centre and new jobs have been facilitated for 2,312 jobseekers (875 female).
- Digital Job Matching Platform (National Recruitment Platform): To improve domestic and overseas employment, LIWAY has been facilitating the development of digital job matching platforms. While the initial focus was to improve the manual processes of the Ministry of Labour and Skills (MoLS), the intervention was scaled up to include an overseas employment platform in partnership with the Jobs Creation Commission. The overseas digital job matching platform has been transformed into the National Recruitment Platform with support from LIWAY in collaboration with Minab IT Solutions and the ILO by integrating it with the Ethio-Migrant Data Management System. To date, 52 licensed private overseas employment agencies have been trained to work with the platform for overseas job matching.
Lessons learned along the way
Through our work on these different interventions, we have learned a number of lessons related to digital-based interventions to improve how the labour market functions for women and youth.
First, it is important to integrate offline solutions to ensure services are inclusive for those who are digitally illiterate or who lack smartphones and internet connectivity. Examples include call centres, SMS services, and movable job corners.
Second, digital upskilling is required to truly shepherd poor women and youth along the digital journey so they can access, use, and benefit from all the features and functionality of digital services. LIWAY is embedding digital upskilling in interventions and is also driving the delivery of digital literacy training through relevant institutions such as TVETs, universities, youth centres, computer centres, incubators and accelerators, and other private businesses.
Additionally, we have found there is an appetite for digital solutions in Ethiopia. Examples of successful implementations lead to replication by other actors, and therefore a greater number of people benefit. We have already seen the emergence of new tech-enabled job matching service providers and gig work connection platforms with similar models and features as those piloted through LIWAY’s interventions.
We are committed to continuing to strengthen the digital ecosystem for the labour market in Ethiopia and to ensuring poor women and youth benefit and gain additional skills to fully leverage new digital services.