Getting Into a Job Market by Mobile Phone


This is the VOA Special English Development Report.  

In two thousand seven, five young people in the American state of Massachusetts developed an idea. The team knew that the world is filled with mobile phones. About eighty percent of all people are said to live within reach of a wireless telephone signal.

A fisherman speaks on his mobile phone near Channai, India
A fisherman with his mobile phone near Channai, India
The idea was to use mobile phones and the Internet to connect job seekers with employers. The young people wrote a business plan and formed a company called Assured Labor.

Assured Labor won a development competition at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Three of the founders were graduate students there.

Assured Labor is an electronic marketplace. It has two parts. One is for the United States. That operation was launched in January in Boston. It links people with employers offering temporary jobs.

The other arm of the business is for developing markets. That operation is meant to help people get more permanent jobs. A representative is currently building partnerships with universities and international companies in Central America.

Assured Labor's president, David Reich, says the companies now place job advertisements on radio or in newspapers. Some even drive around in cars with loudspeakers announcing that jobs are available. He says the companies are interested in having more modern hiring practices.

Through Assured Labor, companies will list open positions on the Internet. People who think they could do the job could reply by text message or on their cell phones.

This how the system works in Boston:

The jobs available include house cleaning, dog walking and home repair. People who want their house cleaned, for example, can look online at a list of twenty housekeepers. The list tells what services they offer and how much they want to be paid. People need two letters praising their work to get on the list of service providers.

The employer chooses workers they would like to hire. The company then sends the workers a text or e-mail message so they can respond quickly to an offer.

After a job is completed, the employer and employee rate each other. The rating is kept for future use. Assured Labor is not charging anyone right now, but the plan is to have employers pay for the service.

And that's the VOA Special English Development Report, written by Jerilyn Watson. I'm Steve Ember.