By Princewill Ekwujuru

In this interview the Chief Executive Officer of Jobberman, Rolake Rosiji talks about new developments for job seekers and the gaps in the Sub-Saharan job market and why women should  give employers something more to talk about, rather than gender. Excerpt.

Tell us about Jobberman?

Jobberman has been a trusted brand in Nigeria for over 10 years. The company has had an impressive journey since being founded by three University of Ife graduates in 2009. We have grown to 70 employees in Nigeria and currently have a database of over 60,000 employers and 2,000,000 job seekers including many large corporate such as Access Bank, Dangote, Mckinsey & Company and Main One.

Jobberman partners with state governments such as Enugu State and Lagos State on job creation programmes. We work with multi-laterals such as USAID and UNICEF on large employment programmes and with parastatals like NYSC.

Most notably, we have a partnership with the Mastercard Foundation to place 3 million Nigerians in jobs by 2025 and to upskill 5million young Nigerians. We intend to add more large scale partnerships to our portfolio including the recently established Federal Government Public-Private Partnership styled Infrastructure Company named Infra-Co. The entity is envisaged to grow to N15trillion in assets and capital, over time, a statement from the VP Office. Jobberman is bidding to be Human Resources recruiters to build the Infra-co team in support of the chosen fund managers and legal partners.

You’ve recently been appointed the new Chief Executive Officer of Jobberman. What new developments should job seekers and employers expect moving forward?

Employers should expect a shift in the quality of service they receive from Jobberman, better candidates and a faster turnaround. Also, there will be greater use of technology from Jobberman including advanced online assessments and soft skills training.

Employers will also find it easier to use our online platform themselves to manage their recruitment needs and to sift through CVs themselves. We will continue to expand our executive recruitment, Human Resources Consulting such as Succession Planning and Salary Reviews.

Job seekers should expect to find the best jobs on our platform and access our free soft skills training from online platforms like Coursera, Thinkific directly on our website after registering.

Nigerians should expect a competent Jobberman that is bolder in taking on large scale corporate and Government projects. We are an indigenous company and the best in our field in Nigeria – who better to provide policy advice and manage operational programs. We also have a proven track record that cannot be topped.

You have served in various leadership positions in different companies. What advice do you have for women who aspire to serve in leadership roles in their fields?

First, be excellent in your field. Do the hard work and research and always show up with value to add. Become known for excellence.

Second, invest in personal development, hone your skills, get more certifications and give them something more to talk about, other than your gender.

You also have to self promote, we live in a very competitive world where you cannot be shy about your accomplishments, learn to promote yourself on LinkedIn, conferences and events and in fact whenever you meet new people. And network smartly.

Decide where you want your name to be known and be intentional about meeting the right people.

As one who has grown through the ranks in your career, what advice do you have for youths seeking to be employed and enjoy a progressive career journey?

I believe it is essential to have a vision as a young professional. Know what you’re passionate about and focus at becoming the best at it. I love the line from the Mary Oliver poem “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life “. And if that one thing fails, know when to change course.

Next, be persistent, things are really not easy right now in Nigeria. Keep sending out your CV and network with those who can open door with you and show them your value.

The most important thing is to put yourself out there. Jobberman is a great platform to start your job search as we provide opportunities to connect you to employers. We will also train you on soft skills so that when you meet employers you have an added advantage.

You’ve worked in the business services industry for several years now. What gaps have you observed in sub-Saharan Africa’s job market, and how can these gaps be closed?

The most significant gap is caused by low access to opportunities, and then a wide skill and educational gap.

Government and private sector need to provide access to opportunities and empowering candidates to take advantage of these opportunities through proper education, skill acquisitions, impactful training and empowerment programs, and adequate funding. In achieving this, we will create a more inclusive job market that will provide gainful employment for Nigeria’s teeming youth population across various social classes.

Let’s go into more detail to bring the problem to life. If we take a broad sector like infrastructure and we look at the Power, Roads transportation, Rail, Telecoms subsectors of power – you will see that whilst there is abundant talent in Nigeria at junior levels–we lack advanced technical talent in these areas in Nigeria and we are often employing Germans and Indians to lead these projects. Jobberman wants to provide access to Nigerians, both here and in diaspora, who can take on multi-million dollar projects.

This is what we aim to do as the Human Resorces partners for CBN and NSIA’s Infra-co programme if we are successful. We hope CBN and NSIA do not ignore us for foreign organisations like Mckinsey and KPMG. Instead, they should select us to work alongside the fund managers they select. We have the largest talent database and advanced assessment tools to allow us to select candidates transparently.

We also have vast training ability include online training on our website which will ensure candidates hit the ground running.  Furthermore, we bring the local knowledge and network.

How will your previous experience influence the growth and development of Jobberman?

I have 10 years of experience in the UK, Nigeria, USA, West Africa and Europe. I have worked in FMCG, fintech, renewable energy, management consulting and development. I have a Master’s degree from London School of Economics, an undergraduate from Durham University UK and a Certification in Business from Stanford School of Business. All the management team are also highly qualified and experienced.

This will mean Jobberman’s development will be structured, well thought out and bold. We will use technology to secure our leadership in Nigeria and to be used by people who had not considered online recruitment, exec recruitment HR consulting such as salary surveys succession planning before.

It is evident that there is an existing gap between education and employment. How can businesses and organizations bridge this gap?

I firmly believe that there needs to be more synergy between the world of education and the world of work.

Educators like universities and training schools and employees need to work together to create young people with the skills required in the fastest growing sectors in Nigeria – telecoms, banking and finance, ICT, renewable energy.

If we take the power sector as one subgroup of Infrastructure, Nigeria the Federal Government plans to provide 5 million Nigerian households under the Economic Sustainability Plan and managed together with the Rural Electrification Agency. We are starting from a base of around 500,000 solar-powered houses in Nigeria give or take.

To achieve this large ambition, many companies, Nigeria and international must invest and expand their distribution. They in turn need to hire many solar technicians, engineers, salesmen and managers.

Therefore educators and vocational colleges should focus on training here. I sit on the EXCO of the Renewable Energy Association of Nigeria and from feedback from companies, recruiting the right talent is a major issue.

Jobberman’s goal is to plug this gap, in renewable energy and in other priority industries through accessing talent and training them. I hope I can speaking loudly enough when I say Federal Government, CBN & NSIA have very competent organisation in Jobberman,  available to support them here in Nigeria, in the creation of Infra-co.

READ ALSO: COVID-19 VACCINATION: Anxiety over security, logistics, climate challenges

Lastly, companies can support by Internships to help young people learn more hands-on skills.

Many businesses have experienced several setbacks due to the pandemic. Do you think there’s an upside to this unfortunate turn of events?

Yes, I do. Several companies have made some of their largest gains in this period. In terms of technological advancement, it has drastically changed workplace dynamics and has also opened our eyes to see the possibility of working remotely yet being effective in our roles.

While unfortunately, many businesses have suffered and consequently many lost their jobs, many others have started their businesses and have become employers in that time. Sometimes setbacks are opportunities shrouded in challenges.

I believe remote working, part-time working and flexible working are all upsides as they reduce costs and increase productivity amongst staff. This is the future of work. If you’re not moving with the remote work trend you’ll be left behind.

How can small and medium enterprises harness technology to improve their businesses?

The world is become a global village and technology is fast becoming a major tool for business growth. Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and other startups can leverage it across all business processes. For instance, from recruitment processes to Human Resources management.

Jobberman has an online platform that businesses can log in to manage the jobs they’re recruiting for and to manage their candidates.

I encourage SMEs and start-ups that probably don’t have massive funds to use our online platform for recruitment and talent management.

They can also access very useful online courses. Jobberman provides free soft skills courses on our platform via Coursera and Thinkific. We also ensure candidates or employees take a test after to prove to employers they were successful in the course.

We use algorithms support by over 600 assessment tools to identify the best candidates for employers. With the COVID 19 lockdown, we have special discounts and some free products.

Disclaimer

Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.