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Thursday, 4 July 2013

Expensive Search for Jobs

Government announced last month that it was planning to launch an online job portal at a cost of KR7 million (US$1.4m) before the end of June to allegedly "promote job creation". Labour Minister Fackson Shamenda says the "online system will provide means for users to submit their curriculum vitae online which will be seen by potential employers..".

This is part of a broader initiative that includes launch of public employment exchange services centres. The first one has been established in Ndola. GRZ hopes the centres will help "monitor which skills are available on the market and those that are lacking".

Government has already conducted assessments in five field stations including Lusaka, Ndola, Solwezi, Chipata and Livingstone to determine the current employment exchange service status and establish the essential facilities.

Mr Shamenda has appealed to employers to support the initiative by posting their job adverts on the employment exchange service job portal. He says, “the idea of employers only engaging people they know should come to an end as candidates must be employed on the basis of their ability to perform".

The idea is interesting. But it's not going to "promote job creation". It will merely help to reduce the "search" costs for employees. In theory this could actually reduced employment opportunities for people in the country because if the internet portal will allow Zambians abroad to place their CVs there and apply. The portal will widen the demand side of the market.

The cost is exorbitant. This seems very expensive indeed. Unless it includes very highly paid web maintenance and administrative team. And for what? It is shocking that Mr Shamenda can put such figures about without asking questions.

The other interesting question is what this will do to advertising revenue! Presumably the Government portal will be free and directly undercut the newspapers and magazines.

Chola Mukanga | Economist | Writer
Copyright © Zambian Economist 2013

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