- Job hunting app Job Today wants to provide transparency to recruitment.
- Founder Polina Montano said that the app weeds out bad employers and bans them from its platform.
- The company has grown to 4 million registered users.
Job Today now has 4 million registered users who use the mobile app to look for new jobs advertised by 300,000 employers on the platform.
The company, which was only launched in 2015, is now backed by $US65 million (£49.5 million) in venture funding, and operates in the UK and Spain (its HQ is in Luxembourg). It has 50 employees.
Job Today is gathering momentum so quickly that it is starting to become the dominant way for some employers to fill jobs in bartending, restaurants, hotels, retail, and small businesses.
But there is a problem inside the app.
Many of the jobs it offers are at minimum wage, or below. Some employers are clearly looking for workers under age 25, or even younger, even though it is illegal to hire people based on their age. And it’s not hard to find get-rich-quick scams in Job Today — multi-level marketing and pyramid schemes — posing as real jobs. A search inside the app for openings in London quickly reveals bartending jobs on offer for £4.05 an hour — a rate only payable to employees under 18 years old. 40% per cent of Job Today users are people searching for their first-ever job.
The app may be a fantastically successful device for expanding the horizons of casual labour beyond a “Help Wanted” sign in a shop window. And most employers are offering wages higher than the bare minimum — it’s easy to tell the reputable companies from the exploiters.
But Job Today can also leave users with the queasy feeling that it is simply monetising inequality, by providing a deeper pool of both demand and supply for crappy low-wage jobs.
Job Today founder Polina Montano told Business Insider at Web Summit in Lisbon that she thinks she has a solution. She wants Job Today to do for employers and workers what Uber did for drivers and riders: Provide transparency, so workers can see who the terrible employers are (and so bosses can steer clear of untrustworthy employees). The company is working on features to expand the way workers and employees can rate each other, or learn more detailed information about each other, before they work together.
The “social signalling” aspect of Job Today will hopefully warn workers of which companies to avoid, Montano hopes.
“Signalling [is a] direction which we are going in, we really want candidates to be able to say, ‘hey, this employer, this company, I loved working there, this is why I loved the team, or I didn’t like this post, this is why I felt I was treated poorly.’ This is definitely a really important layer which we are working on right now,” Montano said.
Britain has been plagued by low-wage work ever since the 2008 financial crisis. Even though unemployment is low, the job growth has been largely in low-wage, part-time, or gig economy positions that won’t make anyone rich (and drive down productivity in the larger economy as a whole). So on one level, Job Today is simply monetising the UK’s shift toward underemployment as a way of life. But Montano thinks she can raise standards.
“We are moving and tackling those issues,” she says. “We’re tackling this by really working on this direction in transparency, and social signalling from both sides, from candidates about employers and jobs that they have posted there, the product is also moving toward giving more information, especially the employer part.”
Job Today also has a moderation team which blocks companies from the platform if an employer is the subject of too many valid complaints. “It happens all the time. It happens every day,” Montano says when asked how often an employer is kicked off the app. “It’s actually a very small percentage” of all employers. Job Today also searches ads for certain keywords and “inappropriate content” in job ads.
Job Today will be aided by the fact that unemployment in the UK is extremely low, at only 4.3%. In theory it is so easy for workers to find a new job that there ought to be little room for Dickensian bosses.
“It’s a jobseeker market per se and sooner or later all employers will have to wake up and smell the coffee and understand that,” Montana says.