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Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Tech-driven startup Kaigal helps manual laborers find better career prospects

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Kaigal is a tech-driven startup for blue-collar jobs that assists unskilled/low-skilled employees in finding better career prospects. The startup, situated in Namakkal, was founded in 2019.

Although the SMB sector is the greatest job creator in India, it frequently faces a recruitment crisis. Companies are having difficulty hiring and retaining personnel, particularly blue-collar and grey-collar workers.

This has an impact on their day-to-day operations since more time and energy is devoted in human resources rather than other profitable tasks.

Kaigal, which means “hands” in Tamil, is based in Namakkal and tries to assist alleviate this problem. Balamurugan Sundararajan, Ravin Somi, and Senthil Natarajan founded the social company in 2019 with the goal of organising the blue-collar jobs sector.

The platform assists unskilled, low-skilled, and entry-level people in finding better job possibilities while also allowing businesses to quickly discover and hire manual laborers.  The three founders all attended PSG College of Technology in Coimbatore.

Senthil Natarajan, Managing Director of KPN Farm Fresh, had the concept for this employment search firm while suffering with hiring for the shop and coping with the resulting obstacle in expansion ambitions.

The issue here, according to Balamurugan, begins with the first step: informing prospective candidates about job openings in a firm. “There is no suitable procedure in place for contacting prospective staff.”

Hiring eventually becomes an agent’s market, according to Balamurugan. 

He adds, “Attrition in this area is really high, and the firm tends to spend more time and money in seeking new staff.” 

Faced with this issue statement firsthand, the trio developed a solution that provides a pool of resources for enterprises. 

Balamurugan adds, “The solutions in the employment market are all focused on the white-collar jobs sector.” .We realised from the start that we couldn’t attract prospective employees with an app or a website. We planned to establish our communication medium utilising a widely utilised social media site, such as WhatsApp or Facebook.”

The firm engaged applicants and MSMEs by using them as communication tools. It designed software to automate the data as well as a bot. The AI programme was designed to match applicant profiles with available positions, while a multilingual chatbot on WhatsApp and Telegram was utilised for candidate and SME engagement. They conducted a trial run in Namakkal and Karur, which are known for textiles, egg production, the poultry industry, and the lorry bodybuilding business, from June to December 2019.

The crew realised towards the end of the trial run that their initial hypothesis was correct. Kaigal established their whole business strategy using WhatsApp and Facebook. The firm works on a commission basis, with the first individual hired costing Rs 1000.

According to the creator, Kaigal has helped over 22,000 individuals get employment and over 1 lakh hopefuls get interview chances across Tamil Nadu. The goal was to bring in enterprises ranging from tiny stores in need of a salesman to large industries in need of blue-collar labour and connect them with people throughout Tamil Nadu.

Kaigal wished to streamline the difficult hiring process and assure a steady supply of qualified candidates.

MSMEs rely heavily on brokers and consultants for recruiting, and persuading them was one of the most difficult hurdles, according to Balamurugan. “When Kaigal first entered the Coimbatore market, it reached out to MSMEs through a variety of organisations, including the Coimbatore District Small Industry Association, the Coimbatore SIDCO Industrial Estate Manufacturer’s Welfare Association, and the Madurai District Tiny and Small Scale Industries Association.”

These organisations assist them in connecting with MSMEs and expanding their consumer base. To attract job applicants, the organisation used offline marketing tactics such as posting advertisements on the backs of buses.

When a firm makes a request, the team employs AI to match the needs with a database of resources. According to Balamurugan, another problem for this area is a lower ‘turn-up ratio’ as compared to white-collar professionals. For example, if there is just one job position, the team contacts 20 prospects.

According to Balamurugan, they assess a candidate’s excitement based on characteristics such as how quickly they react to messages and how frequently they communicate with the organisation. He claims that reaching out to 20 prospects means that just 30% will show up for an interview. Another issue is that these candidates do not have adequate job histories. They must work for the firm for a limited period before being employed.”

The startup, which currently has an 18-member staff, has a database of around 7,000 registered MSMEs and 1.7 lakh applicants in Tamil Nadu. Its enterprise clients include IFB, L&T Microfinance, Bigbasket, and KPN Farm Fresh. The gig labour in India is expected to number 7.7 million in 2020-21. According to an article in Invest India, this is predicted to grow to 23.5 million employees by 2029-30, accounting for 6.7% of the non-agricultural labour or 4.1% of total livelihood in India. 

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