How UP-based Jobsgaar is helping migrant workforce find hyperlocal jobs in their hometowns
An unwell mother, a father who lost his job in Dubai, and a younger brother – the burden of this family was weighing down on their fourth member Kumar, a 19-year-old boy, who was desperately looking for a job to cope with the crisis amidst COVID-19 pandemic.
He came across an advertisement from a motorcycle agency six kilometres from Kumar's home in Gopalganj, Bihar — ‘Wanted salesman with a minimum six months experience. Salary Rs. 12,000.’
He followed up for the position, and after a face-to-face interview, in which he revealed his additional photo-editing skills, he was immediately hired.
"I ride to work in 20 minutes. I stay with my family; I even take a lunch box to work. I earn the same salary I did earlier, but I save more now. I also have time to restart the science degree I gave up," says Kumar.
All this was possible because of Jobsgaar — a website that connects job seekers to local traders and small and medium-sized enterprises in Tier II and III towns.
Founded by Atul Pratap Singh in July 2020, Jobsgaar aims to empower migrant workers — who returned home during the lockdown — by connecting them with the right employers in their cities, towns, or villages.
Atul Pratap Singh, Founder
The to-be multilingual platform also assists everyone to explore and connect in their native language. At present, the website is available in three languages — English, Hindi, and Hinglish.
“While we built this deep-tech company, our focus was to be a 'simple solution provider' without any complexity. We laid our focus on UI and ensured that local workforce and employers could connect without getting into a complex onboarding process,” Atul, Founder of Jobsgaar, tells SocialStory.
Due to the pandemic, Jobsgaar has extended its services to any job seeker, besides migrant workers, with the right qualifications. So far, it has helped about 6000 job seekers find jobs amidst the pandemic.
The founding story
"The story behind Jobsgaar goes back to 2019 when I found my cousin brothers running a few successful distributor networks and enterprises at my native place in Sitapur, Uttar Pradesh."
“Whenever they expanded or introduced new products in the market, they struggled to find the relevant workforce. They relied heavily upon word of mouth which was pretty time consuming,” Atul shares.
While Atul’s cousins were ready to offer anything between Rs 10,000 and Rs 12,000 for a job in the same district, many familiar faces in the vicinity moved to Chennai for a job that was paying a little higher, between Rs 12,000 and Rs 14,000 per month.
This gap between district-level hyperlocal workforce and employers helped Atul conceptualise Jobsgaar (Jobs+Rozgaar in Hindi).
“We did our beta launch in December 2019 and ran it for two months to validate the concept. After 12 months of deep research and feedback, the product was finally launched in July 2020 in Sitapur, UP,” says Atul.
Connecting workers to employers
Every Indian town has local mithai shops, petrol pumps, saree shops, bike or car dealerships, distributor networks, etc. Jobsgaar tries to connect these opportunities with local job seekers, thereby disrupting the major issue of migration in small towns and cities.
“This made us go for the market that has over 450 million semi-formal and formal workforce looking for an opportunity, and link them to the millions of registered and unregistered businesses, small enterprises, and MSMEs that struggle to find local workforce in absence of a digital solution."
“At the moment, we are focussed on 25 districts in UP, Bihar, and Assam that contribute to more than 46 percent of migration in the country. We are also leveraging the social media outreach and consumption to attract and engage audiences,” Atul shares.
Creating jobs and impact
While testing the Beta run, Atul and his team were aware of the unemployment statistics and ensured that the local employers were open to adopting digital solutions. It listed a tyre puncture assistant’s job vacancy, offering Rs 8,000 salary in a tyre repair shop from Kanpur, as its first listing. In this phase, it saw about 64 percent of the jobs coming from non-metro cities. At present, the number is over 90 percent.
“From the employer's perspective, we are listing opportunities not only for the blue-collar workforce but also for white-collar, which is a very positive sign against the notion that non-metro cities don't have many white-collar opportunities,” reveals Atul.
On the education qualification front, about 36 percent of job seekers registered on the platform have completed some form of primary education, while 50 percent are graduates. About 14 percent of the job seekers have a post-graduation degree.
Similarly, about 33 percent of job seekers are freshers, 35 percent have between one and five years, 21 percent have between five and ten years, and about 11 percent of the job seekers have over 10 years of work experience.
Representational image (Source: Jobsgaar.com)
“In less than 60 days, we had over 300 businesses looking for the workforce, and over 10,000 workforce members looking for opportunities. We have successfully been able to arrange over 5,000 conversations and applications via Jobsgaar,” he shares.
Prashant from AR Labs in UP was looking for an office boy and signed up on Jobsgaar. In less than four days, he was contacted by over 25 applicants from relevant locations. After a quick chat over the call, the selected few were invited to the interview locations, and the position was filled in less than 14 days.
“The interesting fact was that the selected workforce was based locally (in the same district). The candidates were happy as they got jobs at their native place, and they did not have to move to cities like Noida, Delhi, etc., for similar kind of jobs,” says Prashant.
At present, Jobsgaar is in the process of raising funds from an angel round. “Sunil Kamath, ex-CBO, Sharechat, is our first angel investor, and we are looking for more angels,” says Atul.
The pandemic boon and the way forward
The COVID-19 pandemic, according to Atul, was a blessing in disguise. It forced people to move back to their villages, thereby making them pursue hyperlocal jobs.
“The biggest challenge that we had was to make local businesses adopt a digital solution to fix their hiring woes. But with the emergence of internet consumption and social media adaptability, the journey has been pretty phenomenal so far,” Atul says.
He adds, “The lockdown effects (pre and post) were not that impactful at various district levels, and that gave us a scope to keep our functions running.”
Atul reveals that his team is building something 'exceptional and cool' that will help Jobsgaar grow exponentially while serving millions of workforce and businesses. The feature should be ready in the next 30-40 days.
“While we are a core tech company at the backend, we believe in being simple at the front. We understand and believe that it’s the 'dish' at the restaurant matters the most for the guest and not necessarily the ingredients used by the chef. Moving forward, we will stick to our roots and try to evolve the solution in various ways driven by simplicity,” Atul signs off.