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When Glowork established itself as the first Saudi job portal for women, many wondered about its austerity, purpose and unfeigned success.
Change is unhindered and can never be stopped. In fact, in Saudi Arabia, we live in a 15 percent female workforce. Shockingly, 60 percent of the unemployed women workforce represents the percentage of females that have Ph.D.’s (2008 Booz & Co study). This is where Glowork steps in to cut the barrier, draw more jobs and utilize unemployed resources of man labor.
Glowork is a website that aims to bring empowerment to females across the region. It is for all women of all nationalities that work in Saudi Arabia. Females in the Gulf can also apply to jobs in Saudi Arabia.
Announcing the first ever Female Career Fair in the Kingdom, which will be launched in October, Arab News is proud to present history in the making. Delving deep into the genesis of Glowork and its actuality, Arab News spoke with Khalid Al-Khudair, a co-founder and the COO for markets at KPMG in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Jordan.
He asks a pertinent question, maybe one that you have asked before: “At the end of the day, we should ask ourselves, why should we educate out sisters if they aren’t meant to be in the workplace?”
The man speaks of realism in adversity and contemplates tribulations.
What does Glowork define, signify and represent to you?
Glowork is an initiative that I believe in. I came back from Halifax, Nova Scotia in Canada at the end of 2006 as a fresh graduate, and even as a male, I found it difficult to search for a job and apply for one. The process was not clear here in the Kingdom, as companies barely check their own portals, and all I kept getting back was that the key way to find a job is through vitamin “W” (Wasta). So, as a male, I did find some difficulties in finding the right career for me even though I have been educated abroad and have worked abroad during my upbringing.
Alhamdulillah, I found my place at KPMG, however, throughout the years, I watched how my sister was lost in searching for a job. I expanded my vision to look at other females and found that our education system currently does not equip students with the tools to get into the workforce. Important elements such as, how to write a CV, where to search for jobs and how to prepare for an interview are all things that our sisters are teaching themselves. They also have the problem of not being able to drive to submit their CVs and need their fathers or brothers to drive them around for interviews, etc.
Another problem women face is the possibility of getting hassled at the workplace. An example of that is when a giant superstore opened its doors for females to work as cashiers. You can see a short video on that specific topic by movie director Hanaa Al-Fassi on our website.
The project Glowork, supported fully by one of the best companies in the world when it comes to corporate social responsibility and diversity (KPMG), was established to help ease and overcome these issues while our sisters are based at home. I came together with the support of KPMG and other young philanthropists, such as the likes of Muna Abusulayman, Jamal Al-Mansour (VP of HR at Deutsche Gulf Finance) and Khalid Al-Saleh (CEO at Dr. Café) to come up with the Glowork project. The service is free of charge to all job seekers.
Once we came up with the strategy for Glowork.net, we sought support from community leaders and are proud to have the following leaders as our brand ambassadors: Said Baaghil (Marketing Guru), Dr. Haifa Jamalalail (president of Effat University), Capt. Hanadi Al Hindi (first Saudi female pilot), Razan Baker (Arab News sports journalist), and Maha Taher (social advocate).
How will it bring Nitaqat into play?
The Glowork project kicked off right before the Nitaqat system came into place. We were very pleased when we received a letter from Labor Minister Adel Fakeih last week, which gave us words of encouragement. We really believe in what the minister is doing and we are trying to align our project with what’s best for the country. We have set our own objectives and targets, which will Inshallah be self rewarding more than anything.
The Nitaqat system is a tool in which Glowork is a key player. Companies need to facilitate Saudization, and we are assisting in opening sections for females working in the private sector to secure their needs. One area is signing agreements with NGO’s and assisting companies in securing Saudi talented females with special needs that could work in the private sector. We have already opened the door with a number of companies that have posted vacancies for Saudi females with special needs. Even though our website is for all females regardless of nationality, our priority is in assisting Saudi females. We have managed Alhamdulillah in the past two months to secure 800 vacancies in which 750 vacancies are purely for Saudi females in all levels and grades.
Are you in tie-ups with other job portals?
We are not tied to any other portal; we are independent. As a matter of fact, many websites across the region are following our footsteps and are setting up sister links dedicated to female recruitment. What differentiates us is that we are innovative and our aim is not to sell but rather help.
In what ways do you help a job applicant?
We have done a number of things, which are tools, to help the job applicant, or we like to say, career applicant. One thing we have done, which nobody has provided, is a free BlackBerry service. After females add our dedicated BlackBerry pin number, all subscribers (currently around 500) receive a broadcast every time a vacancy is posted on our website. We also link our vacancies to all social media networking sites. That way, employers also get a lot of marketing exposure for their vacancies. We also have a service where we assist females in writing their CVs for a minimal charge. We know there is a huge market for females who are educated but got married, and then at a late age, are thinking of entering the work market.
Do you help facilitate the job interviews. If yes, how?
We basically link the employer with the job seeker. We have a full-time dedicated team of women hired to follow up with all employers that have posted jobs and assist them in finding the right candidates for them.
How do you plan to change it?
We have already met with most of the universities in the Kingdom and have received their backing to help back their students by sending them our e-recruitment marketing materials and keeping them aware of all the latest jobs in the market. With this, we are also working on a number of strategic initiatives. One of them, which we are proud to announce first to Arab News, will be the first ever Female Career Fair in the Kingdom, working together with SIAM Gulf, the event organizer, and under the patronage of the Ministry of Labor. The paper-free event will take place in October and will have all employers in one place and will be dedicated to females. All employers will have their laptops open on Glowork.net, so that jobseekers can send their CVs directly online from their USBs.
You can also tweet job opportunities or find yourself a life-changing one. Follow @glowork1 and the hashtag #women2work to keep yourself updated.