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Egypt labour market: Digital tips for employment

CEO of the Shaghalni job-hunting website Omar Khalifa explains trends in the labour market

Safeya Mounir , Sunday 1 Aug 2021
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Kicking off on Saturday at the American University in Cairo’s Greek Campus in downtown Cairo, the Shaghalni (Employ Me) Forum will be connecting visiting job-seekers with companies and employers.

Shaghalni already has a website that helps job-seekers find employment. It has been operating since 2016, and it has been growing over the years.

“The forum’s first round saw the participation of nine companies hunting for 3,500 workers,” said Omar Khalifa, CEO of Shaghalni. “In this year’s edition, 30 companies will be offering between 50 and 800 jobs each,” he told Al-Ahram Weekly.

Anyone looking for a job can post their résumé for free on the Shaghalni website where it will be seen by companies seeking to hire employees in different fields.

Khalifa is optimistic about this year’s round of the forum, believing that “the labour market has regained its strength,” primarily because the majority of companies that had earlier slowed down their rate of hiring during the Covid-19 pandemic are now bouncing back. Egypt’s unemployment rate ranges around 7.5 per cent.

Egypt’s labour market has been suffering from gaps that Shaghalni is trying to fill: despite the rise in the unemployment rates, many companies have been failing to fill vacancies. The problem, Khalifa said, is that employers and job-seekers cannot find meeting points, which is where Shaghalni comes in.

It started as an online phone directory where job-seekers could post their phone numbers and CVs. Khalifa later replaced the directory with a website.

He said the country’s labour market was facing challenges other than the failure of job-seekers and companies to find a meeting ground. Some employers dictate unfair terms for vacant jobs, such as low salaries, long working hours, and unjust holiday arrangements, leading some of the unemployed to stop looking for jobs, he said.

On the other hand, some young people do not realise that they do not have adequate skills or experience to request high salaries, adding that accepting a modest salary, while gaining more experience on the job, will grant young people a better future.

The Shaghalni website is committed to a host of standards, among them that vacant positions must be offered for at least the minimum wage of LE2,400. Some companies had earlier offered jobs for as little as LE1,000, also demanding long working hours and dictating conditions, Khalifa stated.

He said that demand in the first round of the forum had focused on sales representatives, technicians, warehouse workers, workers in the tourism sector, employees in customer service departments, and security workers.

Today, there is increased demand for sales representatives due to the rise in e-purchasing since the outbreak of the coronavirus, Khalifa said. Demand is also high for security personnel and workers in different services, maybe because of the increase in real-estate projects in Egypt.

Technicians are still in demand, being sought by companies and factories alike. There is higher demand for blue-collar workers than white-collar workers, Khalifa said, since many companies are looking for drivers and security and cleaning workers.

Shaghalni will soon add an icon on its website targeting white-collar workers who are private or international university graduates or have postgraduate degrees, Khalifa said, adding that it would organise another Forum for these workers before the end of the year.

Such workers are easily reached via social media, he said, unlike some other workers who may depend on word of mouth to get a job. The latter are also being targeted by SMS.

 *A version of this article appears in print in the 29 July, 2021 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly.

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