Employers need to make it easier for young people to find jobs. That's the word from Lulaway CEO Jake Willis, who says it costs jobseekers about R550 a month in transport and administrative costs to actively search for a job in South Africa.
Willis says research indicates that an average of R350 is spent on transport and R200 on internet costs and printing. "Young people who spend several months looking for jobs often exhaust their personal savings as well as every other channel open to them, such as loans from family, friends or microlenders."
Willis notes that most organisations are aware of the importance of employing people who live close to the workplace. "This is because the risk of drop-off is much higher when employees have to spend a large percentage of their salary on transport."
That being said, employers do not always consider how much it costs for jobseekers to apply for jobs and attend interviews.
Pay first-time employees their first month's salary in weekly instalments, to allow them to cover their transport costs.
How can employers make it easier for jobseekers?
Willis suggests several creative ways companies can help reduce the costs related to applying for a job:
- Online advertising of job openings. Online job portals allow youth to find out about jobs without having to spend money on newspapers. It also gives them access to wider range of opportunities.
- Allow for online job applications — by allowing youth to apply for a job online, the transport and printing costs associated with delivering a CV to the office is eliminated.
- Where possible, conduct telephonic prescreening to ensure unsuitable candidates are not invited to an interview.
- Consider conducting speed-interviewing events. Speed-interviewing allows companies to partner with other similar employers in the industry — or various branches or departments within the organisation — to interview several jobseekers over a short period. Applicants can then be interviewed for several job openings, saving them hundreds of Rands in transport fees and providing a highly effective way for employers to screen several applicants at the same time.
- Consider a central location outside of the company's premises to conduct interviews, such as a local community hall. This will mean candidates don't have to travel to the interview — this could coincide with a CSI initiative.
- Pay first-time employees their first month's salary in weekly instalments, to allow them to cover their transport costs.
- Combine hiring activities such as interviews and assessments into one day, so that young workseekers only pay for one journey.
- Use the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) and Gauteng City Region Academy's (GCRA) job-creation databases. They include thousands of prescreened workseekers with all the necessary documentation attached. These can often be accessed for free, saving both parties money, time and resources.
It is important to be smart, and set up alerts that automatically inform jobseekers when new jobs become available in certain locations or industries.
What can jobseekers do to keep job-hunting costs down?
Willis suggests young people also investigate ways to ensure they don't spend too much money applying for jobs. "Government bodies such as the NYDA and GCRA allow young people to apply for jobs for free. This involves going into their offices, which are usually centrally located, and completing an online application.
"Young people should also look out for career fairs, or career drives, organised by youth employment organisations in their communities to recruit people for certain programmes or projects. They can also read local newspapers and listen to local radio stations to find out about these types of opportunities," adds Willis.
He also suggests jobseekers consider the following measures to optimise their job-seeking activities:
- Research the company and potential job before spending money on travelling to an interview. Young people who know they don't want to work in a call centre or factory should not waste their time and money going to an interview.
- Maximise the value of social networks. Jobseekers should ask friends and family members if there are any openings at their workplaces. A personal referral is often well received by employers. Jobseekers will also be able to get a better feel for what the company is like, and determine whether it is a good fit for them.
- Use online portals as much as possible. Youth can use free job portals to access dozens of job openings. Gumtree and Facebook constantly post new job openings — but it is important to be smart, and set up alerts that automatically inform jobseekers when new jobs become available in certain locations or industries.
- Go local. Local government and nonprofit organisations often conduct job-creation initiatives in their community.
Willis says he is acutely aware of the challenges faced by young people on the hunt for a job. "We are constantly on the lookout for ways to make the jobseeking process easier, as well as for opportunities to partner with the public and private sectors in identifying and creating more jobs for the country's youth."