Giraffe– the South African automated job matching platform- has closed a grant funding round from UNICEF’s innovation fund in a move to make South Africa’s youth more employable.
Founded in 2015 by Anish Shivdasani and Shafin Anwarsha, Giraffe is a mobile job matching platform that aims to reduce unemployment in emerging markets by enabling jobseekers to make a CV on their cellphone for free and then connecting them with relevant jobs in their area.
According to Giraffe CEO Anish Shivdasani, ‘We are truly honoured to be working with UNICEF to evolve our job matching platform as we move into our next stage of growth. The education and employment of the youth- especially in Africa- are critical to ensure inclusive growth, reduce poverty and inequality, and pave the way towards a world that is more just for all.’
Businesses looking for staff can post a job online at www.giraffe.co.za. Giraffe then uses matching algorithms to identify and contact relevant candidates. Candidates who apply are screened for the job and then asked to submit a voice note explaining why they are suitable for the job. Employers can simply log in to their dashboard, see which candidates have passed their screening and listen to their voice notes.
By automating most of the recruitment process, Giraffe saves business owners and recruiters a significant amount of time whilst enabling them to rapidly to find the best candidates.
Giraffe is unique among conventional job portals because automatically screens candidates so employers don’t have to. Also, Giraffe focuses on entry and medium skilled roles- which are most relevant to young people who comprise the bulk of jobseekers and who are of strong relevance to UNICEF, whose mission is to promote the rights and wellbeing of every child.
Giraffe has established the company to address South Africa’s disastrous youth unemployment problem. Unemployment rates in South Africa are around 40%, with youth unemployment at around 50%. If the youth fail to get jobs, this can result in lifelong poverty extending to the future generations. Solving youth unemployment is therefore critical to reduce poverty and inequality, and to help young people improve their quality of life.
Whilst South Africa’s unemployment problems relate primarily to the legacy of apartheid and country’s poor economic growth rate, access and visibility to opportunities are also major issues. By using mobile technology and matching algorithms, Giraffe hopes to improve jobseekers’ access and visibility to opportunities.
Since launching, Giraffe has attracted over a million jobseekers with thousands of businesses- both small and large- using the platform to recruit staff. However, Giraffe’s founders noted that one of the main lingering issues is the lack of education, skills and therefore employability- that plagues South Africa’s youth.
‘The UNICEF Innovation Fund welcomes Giraffe to our portfolio of startups bridging learning and connectivity gaps towards employability,” said Cecilia Chapiro, Investment and Portfolio Adviser at UNICEF Innovation Fund
With UNICEF’s support, Giraffe plans to develop a jobseeker content portal to enable young people to upskill themselves and increase their employability. The educational content will be based on Giraffe’s extensive labour market data that shows what skills are in demand for which there is insufficient supply. By closing the loop and addressing the skills gap, Giraffe believes that its solution will create more impact and more young people will be absorbed into the workforce. Giraffe also plans to use UNICEF’s support to evolve its matching algorithm, making large parts of it open source for other organisations to use across the globe.
Giraffe’s immediate objective is to navigate the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Indeed, addressing the economic impact of the pandemic and associated job losses are a key focus of the company’s efforts. UNICEF’s support therefore comes at a critical time when jobseekers need the most support.