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Glowork is an online recruitment facility that has been helpful for both employers and job seekers, especially females. The facility is the brainchild of Khalid al-Khudairi and some other like-minded young entrepreneurs. Started in the year 2011, the facility has proved itself to be of immense help.
Though initially there was a lot of resistance from religious fanatics, Glowork was able to garner support from the Saudi government. It is understood that Saudi Arabia is an Islamic nation, where the law is based on Shariah that allows less freedom for women.
Saudi women are usually confined to their homes. Recent years have witnessed some leniency in such restrictions; females have been allowed to pursue education, but unfortunately, they are unable to get jobs. This situation exists due to stringent labor laws of the Saudi government, according to which employers have to provide a separate workplace for males and females; this obviously increases the overhead expenses. So, businesses desist from employing females.
It is estimated that 1.2 million women between the ages group of 20 and 35 are unemployed, which represents 86% of the unemployment market in Saudi Arabia (source – Ministry of Labor, Saudi Arabia). Further, 60% of women with PhD certification (doctorate) are unemployed. Various obstacles are prevalent for women to enter the labor market, such as the limitation to drive, segregation laws as well as laws that do not allow women to work in certain sectors and industries.
Glowork’s vision is to be the leading enabler for women into the labor market throughout the Middle East. The company’s strategy is to collaborate with the government, private sector, NGO’s, and universities to bridge the gap on hand when it comes to women in the labor market, as well as change mindsets of people and employers using a systematic approach.
Glowork’s vision complements the Saudi government’s feminization program; the company’s vision is to become a job creator by influencing changes in current laws. Adel Fakieh, who holds the portfolio of minister of labor in the Saudi government, recently stressed the need to replace the male workforce with females in certain areas such as lingerie stores.
Within a short period of 3 years, Glowork has created a niche for itself in the employment sector. For the rest of the world, it might not seem to be tough to get jobs for women, but in fact, Glowork had to overcome several hurdles in order to achieve the reputation that it has today. Some major achievements of the company are mentioned below:
The company developed an online portal that links female job seekers with employers. Since driving is a limitation for women, the website assists them in applying for jobs from home. Also, there are segregation laws in the Kingdom, which limit women from going to certain companies and applying in person. Moreover, the HR departments do not even entertain the CVs of female candidates.
The company developed a virtual ‘office monitoring solution’ tool. This tool enables women to work virtually from home. This overcomes constraints of the segregation law due to which SMEs desist from hiring women as that would mean separate office space, rent, utilities, furniture, etc. The tool enables women to work from home, and the employers are able to monitor their work via call centers that are of international standard.
The tool also enables women to apply for twenty-five vacancies from home with different monitoring metrics. This creates jobs for those in rural areas and with special needs/disabilities, increases the Saudization percentage, and saves money for the employer, as the cost of the system is less than the cost of transportation allowance alone, leave aside other overheads.
The system won an award by the International Labor Organization (ILO), United Nations (UN) and World Bank through the youth employment network, as being the most innovative solution for job creation throughout the globe. Glowork does not consider this as an ideal way of transforming society, but at least an initiative has been made.
The company is of the opinion that once women start working from home and a basic income is obtained, the male dependant would realize how important this extra income is, and they would be able to build a family and house together (only 20% of Saudis own a home). It is noteworthy that the Saudi government was impressed with this tool and has offered the company to start a pilot project to be launched at the national level.
The Ministry of Labor launched an allowance for jobseekers, which estimates to around US$ 6600 a year. The government spent US$ 10 billion last year on this allowance with little results. Glowork produced a system in which it would have access to the database of unemployed Saudi youth, filter and screen candidates, as well as interview them, and then find employers looking to hire women and link them with ready candidates.
Instead of the government paying the unemployed, it would pay Glowork a fee (for each hired candidate) of US$ 200 upon being hired, US$ 200 after completion of 3 months, US$ 150 after 6 months, and US$ 150 after 12 months. This saves the government a substantial amount of money.
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It allows Glowork to do the filtering, screening, interviewing, selection, induction and mentoring for all the employers at no cost, which in turn encourages employers to create jobs for women, and of course it helps the job seekers secure a clear and concise career. Glowork initiated this contract with the government in January this year and till now, has been able to get jobs for over 150 females, out of which 96% have completed their 3 months’ retention period and saved the government around US$ 20 million.
Glowork has been working closely with the Ministry of Labor since its launch, to develop new laws to create new opportunities for women in the market as well as enhance the working environment. Some laws that have been issued (Glowork is proudly associated with them) are:
- Lingerie stores must have Saudi female employees, w.e.f. January 2012.
- Cosmetic stores must have Saudi female employees, w.e.f. December 2012.
- Abaya & Accessory stores are currently in the framework and need to be “Feminized” throughout the next two months.
- Law has been approved that any company that has over 50 females must mandatorily place a nursery.
- A handbook has been formulated for companies that are seeking to hire women (Glowork is on a steering committee for women employment, chaired by the Minister of Labor).
In addition to the aforementioned achievements, Glowork has the following to its credit:
- Glowork collaborated with the ministry of labor under a Private Public Partnership agreement in which it helps the unemployed in finding suitable job opportunities.
- The company has also joined hands with several private sector companies (almost 277) in order to create jobs for women and assist them in being hired. It is associated with all the major universities and colleges in the Kingdom to ensure that they are aware of the opportunities available for women.
- The company has designated a campus coordinator in each university. At the end of every month, a newsletter that includes details of all the latest job openings is sent to these universities. In response, the universities pass on such details to all the students. Presently, 20 educational institutions are covered under this scheme.
- Glowork has its coordinators assigned to cultural bureaus in the United Kingdom, United States of America, Canada, and Australia. Monthly newsletter with details of available jobs in the Kingdom is sent to these bureaus. The information is further passed on to students pursuing education in these countries.
- The company also works with NGOs (the company has associated with at least 5 NGOs during the past two years) engaged in the upliftment of under-privileged Saudi women. It helps such women in finding suitable jobs within the Kingdom.
With all of the aforementioned performances, Glowork seems to be the only organization in the Kingdom that is focused on women employment and as such, it has an advantage over other companies planning to venture into this segment.
There are certain advantages that Glowork has over its competitors. The company has been able to gain such advantages over a period of time and this might necessitate its competitors to make great efforts in order to attain such a position. The major advantages that Glowork has are mentioned below:
- The company has an online portal (glowork.net) to bridge the gap between female job seekers and employers.
- The company has a complete recruitment service (a PPP with the government) in which it operates as a recruitment office and places all the unemployed Saudi females in the government’s database.
- It bridges the gap between the education sector and the labor market by offering an annual event (A Step Ahead), which is the first ever career fair for women in Saudi.
- It works with the Ministry of Labor on drafting new laws for women employment and acts on implementation of such laws.
Glowork, started in 2011, is based in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It is a networking company that assists Saudi females in acquiring jobs in the region. The company website has more than 11000 job listings for Saudi females. It has acquired global recognition from various quarters and has received endorsement from one of the Saudi ministers.
The company, through its online portal, offers opportunities for Saudi females to complete their internship and summer training with cooperation from Glowork. The company is committed to increase the female unemployment percentage (15% at present). To further its endeavor, the company has been able to acquire a database of more than 1.2 million Saudi females. In a nutshell, it might be said that Glowork is working towards providing equal opportunities to Saudi females.