Discussing The Cambodian Job Market With Everjobs’ Gijs Verheijke

0
2838
cover picture
Gijs Verheijke, a national of the Netherlands currently residing in Myanmar, is in charge of the Asian division of Everjobs.

With around 7,500 visits per day and over 3,500 listed openings, everjobs Cambodia is the fastest growing online career portal in the Kingdom. It first launched in Myanmar in 2013, but two years ago Sri Lanka, Cambodia and Bangladesh got their own version of the site.

The platform is backed by the Asia Pacific Internet Group, a joint venture between German venture builder Rocket Internet and international telecom Ooredoo. The company recently released the 2016 edition of their Career Report Cambodia, a study of the major trends in the local job market.

B2B Cambodia grabbed a chat with Gijs Verheijke, the CEO of everjobs for Asia, to discuss the idiosyncrasies of the Cambodian job market, the findings of their report and their plans for expansion in the Kingdom:

Based on your experience compiling this report and running the Asian division of everjobs, what would you say are the skills employers in the Kingdom demand the most?

English, definitely. I would recommend students to focus on developing their English skills if they want to get ahead their peers. The second most demanded skill is accounting and budgeting: basically, financial skills. Currently we have 598 accounting/finance jobs posted on our site. This is the job category with the most vacancies. Sales is number two with 575 positions.

infographic-1
According to the everjobs Cambodia report, the job category with the most vacancies is Accounting and Finance, followed by Sales, Hospitality, Marketing and Management. INFOGRAPHICS COURTESY OF EVERJOBS

How does the job market in Cambodia compare to other countries in which everjobs has a presence?

Cambodia and Myanmar are candidate markets, which means the job-seeker is the one calling the shots, so to speak. If you can speak English and you have a reasonable level of education, then you have access to a vast number of jobs. A job posted on our website in Cambodia gets 20 to 50 applications.

Bangladesh, by comparison, is more of an employer market. Every job that is posted in this country gets around 700 applications. There are just so many more candidates per job. In Bangladesh, English skills are very developed and the education level of an average person is generally higher. They are very different markets.

For Cambodia, being a candidate market translates into a situation where the challenges are mostly on the side of the company. In a market where job-seekers have so many options, companies must work hard to retain their most valuable employees.

infographic-2
In everjobs’ latest career report, banking tops the list of trending industries in Cambodia. “People want to work in the banking industry because it is prestigious,” says Verheijke.

You mentioned staff retention. Why do you think this is such a huge problem in Cambodia?

My experience tells me that the problem usually lies with management. In my opinion, having high turnover rates is generally a reflection of poor management. It can be solved if the company resolves to build teams in a more collaborative way. At the end of the day, it’s all about giving the employees the feeling that they are contributing, that they have responsibility.

This is true anywhere in the world, not just Cambodia. Sure, money plays also a significant role, but I believe employees that have the feeling that they matter within their company are much more likely to stay.

What are Everjobs’ plans for expansion in the Kingdom and in the region?

The next step for us would be to expand outside the capital. Around 90 percent of the jobs currently listed on everjobs are in Phnom Penh. Companies outside the capital can also list jobs in our site, but few are doing so right now. We’ve already began looking at Siem Reap, and we are thinking of setting up a small team there. After Siem Reap, we hope the rest of the country will follow.

But, in all honesty, we are not completely done with Phnom Penh just yet. After two years, we are now really starting to be known. People looking for jobs are now beginning to search directly for everjobs when using Google. This is a turning point for us, and an indication that we are growing fast. To spur that growth, we need to grow our team here a bit more. We need to adapt to the new realities of marketing and develop interesting campaigns to engage audiences further.

infographic-3
Most jobs posted on everjobs Cambodia are for positions based in Phnom Penh. Verheijke hopes to increase the number of vacancies in other parts of the country.

Who would you say is your biggest competitor in Cambodia?

This is a country with only 30-35 percent internet penetration, so, of course, the other job websites are not our biggest competitors. We compete more against recruitment agencies, an old-fashioned system (like referrals or putting up a job announcement on your business’ door) which is still huge in the Kingdom.

Some people believe job portals in Cambodia are geared towards entry-level positions. Is this true?

Not necessarily. We have quite a few management positions listed. I believe 20-25 percent of the profiles in our database have more than five years experience.

That being said, there are some realities that we need to face. First of all, CEOs don’t do job websites. Not just in Cambodia, but everywhere in the world. Secondly, it is the young urban population that is the most internet-savvy – they are the ones that are going to be using online job portals the most.  

Finally, consider the role that universities play. When you are starting a job website, you want to go to the universities to gain some traction fast. You have thousands of students looking to land their first job. At everjobs, we have a significant amount of experienced professionals in our database, but we are always looking to attract even more.

infographic-4
IT and Teacher are the terms most often searched for on the everjobs Cambodia site.

What are some of the ways in which you are trying to connect with more experienced professionals?

There are several ways in which we try to connect with more experience professionals that perhaps aren’t as internet-savvy, and who rather meet their potential employers face-to-face. We are always looking for career clubs. We go to office buildings to hand out flyers. We’ve also organised several speed interview events, bringing together companies and experienced professionals. We will soon be holding our fourth speed interview evening. These are the perfect venues for company representatives and job-seekers to meet in person.

In Myanmar, we organised in January the first paperless job fair in the country. People go around the fair and scan the QR code in each booth to access the company information and apply for the opportunity that best fits their profiles. Attendants don’t need to carry their CV around; it’s all done digitally. We want to do something similar in Cambodia in May or June.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.