The average age in Uganda is 16 years old, and the unemployment rate is over 60%. Nationally, 400,000 people graduate university each year in Africa while only 80-100k jobs open up! In this episode, we will talk about the online platform that closes that graduate-to-career gap.
We talk with Eddy Vaisberg, the COO of Fuzu. Fuzu is a career platform where 500k active users can discover their talent, get the skills they need to fully unleash their potential and find a career they love. We will talk about:
- 3:00 The unemployment challenge
- 7:30 How Fuzu aims to help graduates and employers
- 26:30 The technology behind Fuzu
- 46:30 The business model
- 48:45 The global goals they are tackling
Find out how Fuzu tackles 3 Global Goals: Global Goal #8, decent work and economic growth for all, Global Goal #10, reducing inequalities, and Global Goal #1 of taking on poverty through the power of jobs. Listen and enjoy!
The Unemployment Issue
Eddy explains the numbers of the education to job-entry gap.
“What you’re looking at is a bunch of young people coming into their own, looking over the next 5-10 years to start building their careers to push the continent forward. But at the same time we don’t have the ecosystem to support them yet. What you see is this great push toward education… however, unfortunatly, the quality of that education is not at the level of the States, or Europe, or Asia. So when they come out of higer education they are not ready to jump into the job market. 70-80% of these graduates are not ready to contribute. And there’s nothing that bridges that gap between education and unemployment.”
Here are some of the stats:
- Kenya: 40% unemployment for the last 3 years of graduates
- Uganda: 65% unemployment for recent graduates
- 400k people graduating in Uganda, 1% of the population per year. But only 80-100k jobs open up each year.
Eddy talks about the infrastructure in the US, Europe and Asia to get graduates into jobs, like mentors, peer groups, career counseling, and internships. Africans need further training before they can even go into an internship, and African companies are only accepting 3-5 years of experience.
How Fuzu Closes the Gap
Here are some of the initiatives happening to help Africans close this employment gap:
- Large companies like Microsoft running intensive trainings
- Government and organizations looking at this problem intensively
But even with many initiatives, the scale of the education-to-employment gap poses the biggest problem.
“750 million people will enter the job force in the next 25 years. These initiatives can’t provide the tools and solutions that can solve this problem across the millions. For us it’s about how we support millions of aspiring junior professionals with tools, career advice, and mentorship to address the problem for Africa.”
Fuzu is intended to be a deep, personalized, catered technology experience to enrich the job seeking journey and unleash the potential of millions of graduates.
A Digital Career Companion
Here’s what will make Fuzu stick:
- Hosting the best job openings
- Contributing the best career content: how to write an email, how to do an interview, how to drive a discussion or lead a meeting
- Supplementing the experiential knowledge that is lost in multiple-choice-test style education
Fuzu and the Global Goals
Eddy emphasizes equal opportunity as an important focus for Fuzu (Global Goal #5). In oder to address the multiple Global Goals they care about, Eddy says that the platform must be the most engaging and opportunity-rich platform experience available.
“We’re trying to leverage all of the analytics to drive a merit-based hiring approach. In order for us to drive our mission, to have graduates and junior professionals utilize their potential and become a leader in the continent by providing the best job opportunities. So what we do is we give employers access to their personality, their talents and core competencies, and their experience.”
The user experience and analytics on Fuzu addresses 2 problems:
- Eases the unknown element of recent graduate hiring
- Mitigates the referral network approach of hiring – which is exacerbated by the tribe network and gender biases in Africa
“This way we force our employers to hire on merit, so everyone has an equal opportunity to get a great job.”
How It Works
- The employer creates a job search with detailed skills and personality requests
- The platform scrapes all 500k users to find matches
- Fuzu reaches out to the top 1000 potentials for the job by email
- Users apply through the platform
- The platform ranks applicants from 1-100 based on the accuracy of matching
- Employers review applications and select a new employee
“You don’t have bus drivers applying to be your accounting manager, or 5-year marketing managers applying for entry level customer service positions.”
The Business Model
Fuzu makes the platform accessible to anyone to use the tools and take the courses. For the employers, the platform has a freemium model, and for applicants, there are certain paid features like creating a CV.
“We don’t want to limit anyone from dreaming, growing, or being found. Most of the monetization is on the employers side, where we have large companies on an annual contract to ingrain us into their hiring process, and manage the hundreds of hires they engage per year.”
Here are Fuzu’s main points of focus to scale:
- Market expansion, to disrupt and enter a market ready for a new solution. This means going into West Africa, South Africa, and other areas. “You can only enter a market once. So we’ve got to make a big splash,” Eddy says.
- Enriching the experience to become the #1 career companion and CRM.
“We see Fuzu as a tool for building the economies and create more people that are ready to make a contribution. It will become a self-fulfilling cycle of job creation… and we want to impact and touch as many people as possible.”
- Wow, the education system isn’t giving real-world skills! How do we decide how we’re educating youth?
- What is it going to take to change the education system?
- We can tackle poverty and economic development by equipping young people to stimulate the economy from the bottom up.