A new online job portal in Mozambique may have the potential to improve job-matching through improved access to information between jobs and job-seekers.

Inclusive growth in developing countries can hardly be achieved without a widespread dissemination of labour market information. Fortunately, growing penetration of the internet can circumvent existing limitations in information systems and facilitate a more effective matching of people, jobs and skills.

In my recent talk at the IGC workshop on private sector development in Mozambique, I presented the preliminary findings of my study on this topic. The study, “Clicking towards Mozambique’s new jobs”, analyses micro data from the emprego.co.mz jobs portal, developed by UX, a leading technology firm.

Job portals can connect more job-seekers with employers than any other medium

In general, jobs portals can contribute decisively to improving labour market efficiency. The volume of job offers and of individuals searching for jobs can be much higher than in non-electronic alternatives. At the same time, the costs of posting and accessing vacancies can be much lower, at least for firms and individuals with direct or indirect internet access. These two factors can also make the job matching process far more transparent and equitable.

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The emprego.co.mz data analysed in this study covers different dimensions of labour market matching process, all in already sizeable numbers. The data covers over 9,000 jobs posted and nearly 70,000 people that have registered on the site since 2012. This amounts to nearly 50,000 applications (recorded since 2014) – and over 15 million job search clicks in total (including of nonregistered individuals). Several variables are also recorded about the dimensions above, including anonymised data for the profiles of individuals searching for jobs (schooling, experience, demographics, etc).

Online job-seekers are, on average, younger and better educated

Amongst other preliminary findings, the analysis of these rich data sets highlighted the youth of the individuals registered (average age 25), their high schooling attainment (13.4 years of schooling) and the large role of on-the-job search (over 70%). The job profiles also focused largely on schooling requirements: secondary (51%) and higher (44%).

On the other hand, the analysis of applications indicated a potentially significant problem of over-education (or education content mismatches) and/or youth unemployment, given the large percentage of graduates (51.8%) that applied to non-graduate jobs. Ina  separate analysis of job clicks per job type, I also found a preference for less technical jobs (public relations, customer support, general traineeships, etc.) as opposed to more specific, technical positions (law, engineering, health, etc.) as well as the public sector, which appear to attract less attention in terms of clicks.

The study – conducted in the context of my IGC scoping project “Developing vocational training in the Mozambique labour market” – also highlights the potential in terms of public-private partnerships in the area of labour market information systems, in Mozambique and elsewhere. For instance, there are possible mutual gains to be made from cooperation between private developers that want to widen the coverage of their jobs portals and public entities that want to increase the range of their labour market data sources, including their timeliness.

Policy implications

Of course, the data presently collected by jobs portals will not necessarily be fully representative, even of the formal (private) sector. Online portals offer a means of leveraging the skill and potential of Mozambique’s labour force and improving the quality of job-matching in a country. This could have powerful gains to productivity and growth in Mozambique. This data also offers interesting insights on characterising labour market dynamics, particularly with respect to identifying emerging challenges –namely, unemployment and skills provision – across Mozambique and other developing countries.

The article was first published on the IGC blog.

Pedro Martins is Professor of Applied Economics at Queen Mary, University of London. He studies employment and wage dynamics, focusing on some of their key determinants: skills, firm performance, the business cycle, employment laws, industrial relations, FDI and international trade.

The views expressed in this post are those of the author and in no way reflect those of the Africa at LSE blog or the London School of Economics and Political Science.