White-collar workers look for a career, but blue-collar workers look for a job, blue-collar recruitment startup WorkIndia’s CEO Kunal Patil tells Business Today, adding that the former can afford to wait for a few weeks to find a suitable opportunity, but the latter usually cannot.
The Mumbai-headquartered tech-based platform connects job seekers and employers by allowing the candidates to call employers. Patil calls the model an industry first. “How it usually works on job portals is that you download their app, upload your resume and wait for a call from the employer. The problem in blue-collar is that there’s no telling when the employer will call back. In a white-collar job, the candidate is usually okay waiting, but the blue-collar worker usually needs a job the next day,” says Patil, adding that WorkIndia tries to address the need for speed and trust. There’s usually a problem of middlemen and fake jobs postings among the blue-collar workforce, who tend to be gullible as well, he adds.
How it works is that the platform allows employers to choose how many calls they want to receive in a day. “We charge the company Rs 50 for every call received. It costs us Rs 2.7 per call. So, we make Rs 47 per call,” he says. We have a high-growth margin of 75% and we don’t charge the candidates anything, he adds.
While the per-call rate is expensive, the employer doesn’t look it at that way, he says. “He looks at the cost per hire. Typically, it takes 10 calls for an employer to get one hire even in the blue-collar segment. Research says three calls lead to one walk-in and three walk-ins leads to one hire. So, that’s Rs 500. If he opts for a middleman, he has to pay 15 days’ salary for every hire, which is Rs 4,000-Rs 5,000.” Besides, he adds, you can get 10 calls over two days and close the position.
However, the solution is more suited for SMBs with a handful of vacancies. “If you need 50-100 people, you should probably go to recruitment agencies.” Set up in 2015, the company says it has over 1.4 million small and medium businesses (SMBs) and 23.5 million candidates on its platform. Over 1 million candidates get jobs every year through its platforms, it claims.
Macro-economic drivers such as the data and smartphone revolution in India clubbed with the Covid pandemic which forced the blue-collar workers also to use their devices for more than just entertainment have certainly boosted adoption, Patil says. “Today, 30% of our SMB clients are those who have never used online for hiring and are using it for the first time.”
WorkIndia has raised $7.9 million funding in six funding rounds. Venture debt player BlackSoil and Japanese HR management company Persol Holdings are the most recent investors, while others include Singapore-based VC Beenext, smartphone maker Xiaomi, and Japanese hedge fund Asuka Asset Management. Angel investors include Goldman Sachs Equity Division’s former India Head Keshav Sanghi, Citrus Pay Founder Satyen Kothari, and NSE MD & CEO Vikram Limaye.
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