By 2017, the youth unemployment rate in Malaysia had reached 10.9%, triple the national rate of 3.3%.
As of 2018, 11.18% of youths were unemployed.
It’s clear that more and more youths are finding it difficult to land a job. And even if they do, the income may not be enough to keep up with rising living costs.
While it will take more than one startup to solve this problem, TheKedua is trying to help people earn some extra income by connecting them to our local gig economy.
Vulcan Post spoke with Akif Jamaludin, co-founder and CEO of TheKedua, as he told us how they are accomplishing this, starting with a simple e-newsletter.
The Gig Is Up
The name TheKedua, came from the Malay words for ‘second job’, or ‘pekerjaan kedua’.
Fitting, as the idea first came about from Akif’s own struggles back in 2017, when he was working in the financial sector.
He did not have a sustainable income which led him to search for a second job.
“My low starting salary was not able to keep up with the high cost of living in Kuala Lumpur. So I had to figure out ways to earn additional income while working on a full-time basis with the bank,” Akif shared.
So he went where most of us would go, Google.
That’s when he said he had a light bulb moment.
“After much consideration and countless interviews, I realised that the list of companies I possess was special as many people were not aware of the existence of these gig companies,” he explained.
Alongside co-founders Ahmad Aizuddin, Arif Azmin and Naqkhaie Jaznin, he set out to change this.
Together, the team compiled publicly available information on side income opportunities in Malaysia, and distributed that information through their newly developed TheKedua email newsletter.
“Back then, I didn’t have much chance to contribute back to our beloved country. But what if this time, I could help more people out there?” he said.
“Especially fresh graduates, to earn income while waiting to land the right job, or at least they could earn something while being unemployed.”
And thus, in 2018, TheKedua was born under the newly founded company, Bright Space Ventures.
While TheKedua caters to tertiary education students, Akif welcomes everyone to make use of their services.
To date, TheKedua has identified up to 200 jobs across 13 sectors under the gig economy. These jobs include e-hailing services, freelance designers, tutors, survey takers and more.
These gig jobs pay an average RM50 to RM5,000 and above per month.
It’s important to note that unlike job portals, TheKedua merely shares these opportunities with their users and does not actually handle the application process, so you would still to contact the employer yourself.
Or as Akif describes it: “TheKedua is like an online Yellow Pages.”
While TheKedua believes in “small changes, leading to big differences,” I have my doubts on whether an “online Yellow Pages” can make a big enough dent on the unemployment issue.
But, Akif is quick to point out that the newsletter is only a minimum viable product to validate whether people need this service, and that TheKedua fully intends to expand beyond this system.
To that point, TheKedua has its own education arm called TheSparks which organises outreach programmes at local universities.
These programmes teach students life hacks, knowledge and skills, with the goal of making them more employable.
“Not only do we show the students where to fish. We also teach them how to fish via TheSparks. Since September 2019, we have touched more than 2,000 lives, and the numbers keep rising,” he explained.
TheKedua has also launched a beta version of a mobile app on Apple Store and Google Play on December 15, 2019.
Again, you will have to contact the employers yourself to apply.
You can find all the standard info you can expect from a job portal such as job scope, benefits and requirements, but as these are gig jobs, salaries are usually labelled as ‘Flexible Rates’.
Users can also review and give star ratings to employers. TheKedua will then analyse the feedback and remove jobs that are below a 3-star rating.
Since the app is in Beta, do expect the app to have its fair share of kinks that need to be worked out.
For instance, it took a while for the jobs I saved to show up in my ‘Saved’ jobs tab. It was long enough (about 15 minutes) to make me think that the feature didn’t work before I just so happened to check one last time.
For now, TheKedua relies on mobile app advertisements and paid outreach programmes such as TheSparks to earn revenue.
Akif shared that building their tech infrastructure required quite a large sum of money, but fortunately, they managed to raise more than enough funds to kickstart its development.
“We want to build a platform that the beneficiaries need, not to provide a service that we think they need,” he said.
Their current strategy is to continuously validate their assumptions, get feedback from their beneficiaries and to keep strengthening their tech infrastructure as well as services.
“As a social enterprise, we are thankful that there are many players in the market, championing the same objective. We believe that no one can help everyone, but everyone could help someone,” he concluded.
- You can read about other Malaysian social enterprises we’ve written on here.
Featured Image Credit: TheKedua