Jobworks prepares for the gig economy

  • Unique in-app features to attract employers and employees
  • Next major phase of development to focus on white collar jobs


Jobworks prepares for the gig economy


THERE are numerous online job portals in the world, including in Malaysia. But Jobworks believes it has cornered a particular niche that will bring it success: part-time jobs.

Founded by Marcus Tioh, Ik Zu Quan and Chan Heng Leng, the young startup has created a human resource technology (HR tech) mobile application that matches part-time workers to companies.

Launched in January this year, the app, also called Jobworks, functions as an all-in-one platform where employers can post jobs and employees can find jobs. It integrates job-matching, time attendance, payroll and rating features.

Jobworks was recently picked by Sunway iLabs to be one of seven startups in the second phase of its Sunway iLabs Accelerator Programme. Jobworks received US$12,852 (RM50,000) in seed funding from Sunway University and Nexea Angels, and Google Cloud credits and legal advisory from a Kuala Lumpur law firm. In exchange, Sunway University and Nexea receive equity of 4% each in the startup.

After minimal viable product (MVP) development, market validation and growing its customer traction, Jobworks (along with the other seven startups) is aiming to raise further funding at a demo day in July.

Tioh, who is also chief executive officer, is positive that Jobworks can achieve its growth goals of at least 200 jobs matched on the platform by the middle of the year and 100 employers on the platform by the end of the year.

He explains that in the part-time job market there are only three main working days – Friday, Saturday and Sunday – and market research has shown that there are at least 200 people looking for jobs on these days.

Based on this, plus average salary (between RM80 and RM150 per day), the average number of days people work and other data, Jobworks has calculated that the possible gross merchandising value (GMV) across the platform per year could be US$874,000 (RM3.4 million).

The hiring cycle works like this: an employer posts a job with a detailed description of the type of work and what kind of employee it is looking for. Employees, who are able to specify their job preferences, are notified if this job matches their criteria, and then apply for the job through the app. The employer can then look through the profiles of applicants and push a ‘hire’ button for those who meet the criteria. The employee gets an instant notification that he or she has been hired.

One feature of the app that has good potential of attracting employers is its clock-in and clock-out feature that requires employees to register attendance at the job site by taking a photo through the app of the location they are supposed to be at and at the time they are supposed to be there.

Employees can also be guaranteed payment within 48 hours of completing the job. Tioh says that employers are encouraged to comply with this requirement because, according to market research, part-timers are more likely to take a job that guarantees prompt payment.

“If they can’t pay within 48 hours, the employer must stipulate the payment time in the job posting so that the employee knows what he is agreeing to,” explains Tioh.

The app also enables employers and employees to chat with each other privately and to make and receive payment for work done.

Tioh says that enabling users to do everything on the app was a deliberate move to ensure that they have a full and convenient experience as well as stay on the app instead of leaving it for Whatsapp, for example.

Jobworks’ customers are the employers; it takes a percentage service fee from the companies. It is targeting event organisers, theme parks, exhibition and convention centres, and the hospitality industry, and both government-linked and non-governmental organisations.

It is not surprising that Jobworks is mobile-first; what is interesting is that feedback from early customers – employers – was to allow them a back-end system on desktop just so that keying in information and posting jobs would be easier.

“We were so excited to get started and develop the app, we didn't do anything with the website,” laughs Tioh. A revamped website was launched in April.

“Everyone is going mobile. The idea was for Jobworks to be like Grab – you want a ride and in a few minutes someone responds,” he continues.

Tioh reveals that, understanding that the job market will change tremendously in the next three to five years as more and more people move into the gig economy, Jobworks is preparing itself for the future. “We hope that in three to five years, the app will be huge,” says Tioh.

Phase Two of its growth, set to take off by the fourth quarter of this year, will see the platform matching white collar jobs for freelancers. Because white collar workers are more discerning than casual workers who mainly want to make a quick buck over the weekend, the platform will have to refine its features and systems before that launch.

Related stories:

Seven startups chosen for Sunway iLabs accelerator programme

Supahands pivots into the gig economy

Are co-working spaces a viable option for startups?


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