In June 2017, GeoPoll conducted a pilot utilizing short-message service (SMS) and computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI) data collection to locate and recruit potential employers in Kenya. The activity supports the USAID Kenya Youth Employment and Skills Program (K-YES) in identifying employment opportunities for project beneficiaries. Through SMS data collection, GeoPoll solved a problem that K-YES had encountered in recruiting employers through other methods: employers would fill positions within weeks of a position becoming available, so by the time the project was able to connect with potential employers, positions had already been filled
GeoPoll’s SMS data collection platform offered an efficient but quick process to recruit employers because it was able to:
- Quickly recruit employers among our database of 9 million respondents across Kenya;
- Verify employers had an opportunity available suitable for a K-YES youth employment; and
- Follow up immediately with the employer to provide relevant contact information and engagement with the K-YES program.
GeoPoll implemented the pilot through a four-day process with the following steps:
- Recruitment through SMS: GeoPoll recruited an initial pool of 500 employers across the counties of Nairobi, Garissa, Kwale, Bungoma and Kericho through a short SMS survey. This survey asked potential employers in agriculture, the service industry, construction and mechanical work about their businesses and if they had available positions suitable for youth job seekers. (K-YES utilizes the common distinction of youth as anyone between the ages of 18-35, and focuses on youth that have completed primary education or some secondary education.)
- Employer Needs Assessment through Computer-Assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI): Within 24 hours of collecting data on potential employers, GeoPoll utilized its computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI) team to call and conduct a detailed assessment on the particular needs of employers recruited through SMS, resulting in 100 interviews with potential employers who fit with K-YES’s parameters for potential employers. CATI allowed the project to hone in on the most promising employers and gather detailed information on opportunities offered.
- Employer Connection to Candidates: GeoPoll shared the list of 100 recruited employers with RTI International for further engagement on the project’s part to connect the employers to their potential candidates. Using the phone numbers that GeoPoll gathered during its recruitment and verification process, RTI can now link employers with pertinent K-YES beneficiaries that have been trained on specific skills.
The results in terms of number of youth employed through the 100 employers identified through this pilot are forthcoming, and will provide K-YES will a useful metric for the impact on youth employment of this type of employer recruitment method.
In Kenya, GeoPoll is a consortium partner under the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Kenya Youth Employment and Skills Program (K-YES). The K-YES project is implemented by RTI International and focuses on enhancing the employability of Kenyan youth. The overarching goal of the project is to train and find employment for 30,000 youth in nine focal counties in Kenya. In order to do this, the project creates linkages between youth seeking employment or better employment and employers in the market.