How One Woman Helps to Reduce Unemployment in Kenya
It is estimated that there will be 17.1 million people employed in Kenya in 2017, with a labour force participation rate of 67%. Of those employed, approximately 55% will be male and 45% female (ages 15+). The total number of people employed in each broad sector has increased annually since 2012, and this trend is expected to continue in the future.
Recours Four Kenya Consultants Limited is one indigenous Kenyan firm which has consistently contributed to the growth of employment rates in Kenya, by matching employers with skilled labour and providing solutions to capacity-building needs.
Founded in 2013 by Gloria Michelle Otieno Muka, the firm is an award winning, woman-owned full spectrum consulting services firm which has been assisting Public Sector Organizations, Private, Government, Non-Profit and For-Profit Organizations.
Recours Four has an organized team of consultants with extensive experience in recruitment, training, psychometric testing, salary survey and HR Consultancy Services and a combined professional staff experience of 30 years in Human Resource Management.
Recently, the company won an award as Best Corporate partner 2016 and was a nominee for the Star Quality in Leadership award -gold category- which was held in France in May 2017 by the Bid Group.
With all these under her belt, Gloria attributes her motivation to the fact that she wants to be a part of Social Change and make a difference in the human resources sector as a whole. Incidentally, this has earned Gloria a place on the Forbes list of 30 promising entrepreneurs in Africa, for the year 2017.
“I basically felt like I needed to be a part of the human resources industry, because in Kenya, our unemployment rates were alarming, initially. I started the business by writing CVs for people. I started with doing CVs for friends, family and workmates. I realized that many people were clueless about how to construct a professional CV and as I got to do many CVs, I realised that interview skills were also a big problem. I wanted people to be able to acquire jobs easily by enabling them to construct a professional CV because, let’s be honest, a CV is the point of first impression. A good first impression can get you through the door to a first interview. Later, I expanded the business to include the other services mentioned above and I engaged industry specialists to push the services along, thus making us a fully expert driven company.”
One will not believe the rate at which the business grew in terms of revenue. The starting capital was between 100,000 – 200,000 Kenyan Shillings only (presently approximately 1,000 – 2000 USD), which was borrowed from her parents (they were the key seed investors). She had to put in 2 million Kenyan Shillings (approximately 200,000 USD) a year after that, for marketing, office assets, and employees. Recours Four’s services are normally tailor-made to organizations, corporate bodies and individuals and, therefore, right now the company does an annual turnover of 30 – 40 million Kenya Shillings. (approximately 300,000 – 400,000 USD)
Though, Competition in the human resources industry in Kenya is fierce, Recours Four Kenya stands out, because it is backed by professional accreditations in Kenya. The trainings offered are accredited by the National Industrial Authority in Kenya and its consultants are members of the Institute of Human Resource Management (IHRM) in Kenya, which differentiates it from other organizations in the same industry. This, in addition to a great customer referral system, high retention rate from the recruitment services it offers and amazing reviews from a client base which has grown tremendously over the years, has made the firm to outpace competition.
On current strategies being deployed to reduce the rate of unemployment in Africa, Gloria feels there is a need to do more in order to build Africa, improve the continent’s economy and get more people employed.
According to her, “our education systems need to empower the youths to think beyond the box and look for ways of being different and outstanding. I believe that we all have the capability to stand out in whatever situation we are put in; this needs to be instilled in our children and youths at a young age.
Let them know that they are the ones needed to make a difference in our society.” She said.
Her services help to reduce unemployment, by empowering many employees from different organizations through high-impact programmes. They also help over 50 people acquire new jobs with the firm’s clients each month. Presently, Recours Four looks to introduce new training programmes, towards fostering entrepreneurship. Such programmes will also be introduced into organizations, in order to empower more staff to look beyond employment and always have backup plans in life.
Gloria is open to mentoring youths looking to start their business and, more importantly, she wants to inspire more people to get into the human resources industry, as it is a rewarding business requiring lots of passion.
“As the business grows, different problems and opportunities demand different solutions. You find yourself constantly in need of the right systems, right skills, market research and basically new innovative ways of reaching your market. All these need constant cash flow, planning ahead and great financial management skills. Most of the time, funding can be a major problem for most businesses”, she says.
She cites social media and technology as her greatest assets.
“We have a great following on our pages and the business even kicked off through our Facebook page. We are able to display our expertise through our social media and through selective intelligence, we are able to attract the relevant audience requiring our services. In terms of technology, we have the ability to complete tasks in good time and meet deadlines, due to our fully functional website which allows us to collect CVs from candidates (onboarding); shortlist in a short period of time; categorise CVs and provide industry-specific CVs to our clients. Our testing site which provides accuracy in our psychometric testing services enables us to use a McAfee site to deliver these tests.”
As a startup founder, Gloria has learnt that work can sometimes get monotonous. She finds herself doing repetitive tasks but, with time, she has grown to realize that this is unavoidable.
“What makes it easy for me to get through the repetitive tasks is the passion I have for the business; if I had no passion for the work I do, I would have given up a long time ago. Repetitive tasks do get boring, but thank God, I found a way to break up the tasks so I could focus on more exciting projects in between. At the end of the day, each organization is different and that is why we love to customize and tailor our services, because it makes the work exciting each time and we get to engage more with our customers. Nothing is perfect though and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”
At the moment, the team is working on a stronger worldwide presence for the business and hope to have achieved at least 70% of that within the next 5 years. They currently have presence and have done business with companies in the whole of East Africa, South Africa and ‘touched foot’ into France and Russia.
“Once you have an idea, be quick about it. The most important thing is to start and have the patience to build your business. Do not get into business for the wrong reasons; it is key to create value in all services that you provide to the public”, she advises young entrepreneurs.
Chiamaka Akuba50 Posts
Chiamaka Akuba is a graduate of Mass Communication of the University of Lagos, Nigeria. She is passionate about emerging markets and entrepreneurship and is actively working with the industry. She loves her conversations challenging and can’t help laughing when you call her ‘Honourable Writer of the Federal Republic'. Chiamaka is a Staff Writer at Outrepreneurs.