Making hiring simpler with GigBridge
In July, we spoke to founder and CEO of GigBridge Gabriel Temidayo Makinwa. Gigbridge will make it easier for railway maintenance and engineering companies to find and hire temporary workers. It's also a much fairer hiring system for workers; everyone gets access to the jobs that match their preferences and get paid with no additional fees. The platform launched in September 2021.
What attracted you to the I-Construct network?
"I was actually searching for grants and this one really stuck out for me. It was the first one I applied to. The fact that it was innovation in construction rang a bell with me. I felt that really connected to what I’m trying to build. It looked like a great network for me to be a member of and connect with other potentially like-minded individuals, industry specialists, or professionals who have worked in this industry longer than I have."
How do companies traditionally hire temporary workers?
“Traditionally the process is quite long, convoluted, and not very transparent. If they need a group of temporary workers for an upcoming project, a company would reach out to a staffing agency (potentially one they've contracted). That staffing agency would then reach out to the relevant candidates within their database. Sometimes calling up to 15 candidates to fill one placement.
"On finding suitable candidates for that placement they then go back to the construction company to confirm they have candidates available. Once someone has been given the work, there's a monitoring process to ensure that the candidate shows up on time and completes the job to the client's satisfaction.
"After that, there's another piece around payroll. Recent legislation has made this even more complex, so what usually happens is the agency will pass over the payroll duties to an umbrella company. This is a separate company who they contract out to deal with payroll. The umbrella company tends to charge the end worker an additional administration fee of potentially £10-15 per shift. So, 5-10% of their earnings is spent simply process their payroll. We want to change that”
How will GigBridge improve the hiring process?
"To put it simply, GigBridge is essentially a digital staffing agency. We're reinventing the way construction engineering, civils and rail companies, connect with temporary workers.
"We aim to streamline the hiring process and integrate it into a digital tool platform. The construction company would simply create a job on the GigBridge website. We automatically match their requirements with the best available worker. The company gets the best worker, closest to the location, who has had that similar type of experience before. Plus, they'll have good ratings and reviews from other construction companies.”
Why should members choose to use GigBridge over the traditional way of booking temporary workers?
“We give them transparency into who they're hiring. Once we've assigned a worker, they'll be able to see exactly who that worker is in their platform. We streamline and automate that process and it's all done in-house rather than handing anything over to a separate umbrella company. This also means we don't charge the workers that additional fee for processing.
"Traditional staffing agencies are obviously my main competitor. In terms of digitizing the process from end to end, no one has done that yet. Some of the bigger agencies have started to catch onto the concept of having an app and having their candidates register through an app.
“I don't think anyone has gone as far as the process of assigning jobs via an app and real-time matching. The matching is still manual and human-led. I'm not looking to completely eradicate that human touch. But we're definitely looking to significantly reduce it and therefore have lower operational costs. Then we can then pass on those savings to the client and potentially to the workers.
“In the future, we'll have features like location tracking to see how far away the candidate is from the job. And for them to confirm that they've reached a job with some sort of location punch clock. We’ll then use that information to corroborate timesheets and determine how much they should be paid.”
Where did you get the idea for GigBridge?
"I have a lot of family who have worked in rail some for 15-20 years. More recently a few of my younger cousins have started working on the rail.I overheard them talking about the process of finding work, and they mentioned the pressure of having to call up agencies every week to find work for the coming week. They also find work more informally through WhatsApp groups or Facebook groups where agencies post jobs for them to follow up on. Jobs ping through all the time.
"I have a background in technology. I used to work for a company called TaskRabbit, which was acquired by IKEA about four years ago. What we do is connect people with others who can do stuff in and around the house. So that might be cleaning, minor home repairs, or gardening work. What we mainly do for IKEA customers is furniture assembly.
“I'm very familiar with the process of growing a two-sided marketplace. I've built the TaskRabbit partnership with IKEA in the UK and scaled it into France. I’m accustomed to connecting clients with suppliers of products, or provision of services.
“I've also built a few technology products in the past. I'm bringing experience from an IT and technology background. I also completed my MBA last year. So, I know how the strategic, financial, and operational side of a business works as well."
After you launch GigBridge, what's next?
"Coming from outside the industry I'm really up for digitizing a lot of the processes are still very manual. Construction is obviously one of the industries that has been less impacted by COVID. It's a very resilient industry and will continue to grow. It'd be great to find ways that we can continue to digitize processes, like a marketplace for equipment hire for example.
“With GigBridge we're starting with blue-collar staff. We could look at white-collar staff as well. A platform to connect companies with white-collar staff for long-term assignments and things of that nature. I think the opportunities are endless. The technology can be reused or reshaped to serve a number of needs in the construction space."
Gabriel is interested in speaking to anyone who has experience in the construction space, particularly in project management or business development. He's interested in understanding day-to-day working practices and how GigBridge could help construction businesses.