What Is A ‘Gig Economy’? Here’s How You Can Get Hired with Hyred
Crunch Spotlight is a Crunch-driven initiative aiming to add value to and inspire both our community and industry leaders across the nation through interview-style articles. Join us as we discover more about the story behind different industry leaders’ lives and journeys towards where they are now, and how they have transformed into the people they are today. We hope you get inspired by these stories and realize that you are capable of achieving your goals, too.
What exactly is a ‘gig economy’? At first glance, the concept might seem a little foreign. According to Investopedia, a gig economy is where temporary and flexible jobs are the norm. Think about freelancers or Grab drivers! Not so foreign now, right?
Hyred, a job-searching and personal branding platform, aims to build and empower the skill-based community of jobseekers, like barbers and A/C technicians to find jobs and build credibility on their skills in order to make a living. We had the pleasure of speaking with Abdul Muthalib, the founder and CEO of Hyred to hear more about his thoughts on the gig economy and how his company is spearheading this shift in Malaysia.
1. Please introduce yourself! Who are you and what do you do?
I’m Abdul Muthalib Zulkarnain, and I am the founder and CEO of Hyred. I have been a “Human Engineer” for 20 years, and I provide strategy and direction to the team on how to envision Hyred’s goals of providing youth with opportunities to upskill themselves through gig-jobs and training.
2. Tell us more about Hyred and your mobile app and website. What services do you offer and how does this help your target audience?
Before the inception of Hyred in December 2018, we came up with the following equation to earn more money or to work towards a better life: Time = Skills + Experience + Network → Money. Our youth must view TIME as precious and equitable to all human beings. Thus, we must spend our time on things of equal value, such as skills, experience, and networking. These cannot be purchased with money, but are earned based on how much time we spend on them.
Thus, Hyred is an upskilling and job-seeking platform where part-time gig workers will not only gain income but also learn valuable skills from their job placements. We provide a unique approach towards upskilling where skills are verified by the employer after these gig-workers have finished their gigs. All of the efforts above are to prepare gig workers to become entrepreneurs, which is the grand vision of Hyred.
Not only that, but Hyred can also give employers a competitive edge as they are able to have easy access to thousands of competent and talented youths on the platform. This not only saves their time but also helps to save cost too!
With all that said, our vision for Hyred is “All Hiring Happens Here at Hyred”.
3. What is the story behind Hyred? Why did you decide to start this business?
In 2012, a fellow HR coursemate and I explored the notion of systemizing and sharing competent part-timers for industries to access, which would save them time and effort in sourcing manpower.
As a human resources professional, a few of the most difficult challenges are finding the right personnel, keeping up with a high turnover rate, and hiring for the festive season. On top of that, our Malaysian youth spend most of their day participating in numerous activities, yet they miss out on opportunities to learn and document the skills they learn and hone from each activity.
Because of this, we were inspired to bridge the gap between these problems and our eventual solution: Hyred.
4. Are there any people or organizations you look up to that have inspired both you and your business? How exactly have they inspired you?
I grew up in Malaysia at its’ pinnacle of progress, headed by Tun Mahathir Mohamad, our fourth and seventh Prime Minister. Tun inspired me to create a vision we want to bring our users. This has been important to me since the early stages of starting my business, as few people understand why we’re doing what we do.
As a leader, Tun has been extremely outspoken on the need for Malays, who are significant economic movers in Malaysia, to reform their mindset and break free from their ‘tempurung’. In 2018, a simple, moving phrase “Melayu Malas” invited some heavy criticism, but I looked at it from a positive perspective; if we as a nation can help Malays out of their economic difficulties today, our country would be more prosperous.
I see it as a call for us to band together to prepare the next generation to be better equipped by simply making better use of their time.
5. The pandemic and lockdowns implemented across Malaysia during the past couple of years meant the loss of jobs for many Malaysians. How has the pandemic affected Hyred so far? Has Hyred been able to assist job seekers to make a living during these tough times?
We were heavily impacted during the lockdown periods, where our main verticals of recruitment and events could not be promoted during those times. However, we believe that everything happens for a reason. For us, it provided an ample hibernating period to develop applications enabling skilled physical service providers like barbers, beauticians, and technicians to get appointments and keep their sales transactions digitally. Thus, we completed our hiring ecosystem with HyredZasss.
HyredZasss, one of Hyred’s services now allows S-Hailing (services hailing) to your door. For example, 6,850 barbers had closed down shops due to the lockdown. However, their skills can still earn them an income with a job through HyredZasss. Through this, we have helped many part-time gig workers to make a living despite the tough times!
6. What are your thoughts on the ‘gig economy’ or ‘sharing economy’? How is our job landscape changing in Malaysia, and how does Get Hyred fit into this picture?
Malaysia started as a self-employed nation, with all trades based on our abilities to service or produce. So, it is not new in our culture, and it is becoming a factor in attracting skilled individuals onto digital platforms.
As the world braces for a significant reset and likely economic turbulence as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and war threats, this sharing economy concept (or gig economy) will be the solution to keeping our daily expenditures low while earning an income from our idle time or resources.
At Hyred, we began collaborating with communities through municipal councils, public organisations, or NGOs to implement A-B-C-D (Asset-Based Community Development), which began by linking residents to job opportunities and the most needed services in a unified marketplace. We truly believe that Hyred is able to not only help people make a living in Malaysia, but also to do our part in helping rebuild and strengthen Malaysia’s economy.
7. For most young Malaysians, starting a business is extremely scary. What was your journey like starting your own business?
Before deciding to go it alone and execute my ideas and solutions, I considered three factors: whether I have the necessary skills, experience, and network to begin with.
I believe that most early entrepreneurs believe that money is the most important factor in starting their business. However, what we actually had around us were our friends and family, who were early adopters of what we ventured to and were willing to share their resources if they believed in the directions or solutions we would provide. I had changed some of my spending habits to make Hyred come to life, and this extended the idea as an intriguing business proposition to my friends, who were willing and ready to be a part of this journey as business investors.
Once the financial components were in place, the search for a trustworthy co-founder with full-stack programming competence came from the camaraderie and spirit of my Sekolah Berasrama Penuh (SBP), where Bakhtiar Ahmad, our current CTO, has been a mate of mine since 1991. The journey of starting your own business might be filled with fear and doubt, but always make sure you have friends and loved ones around you that you can rely on and trust.
8. We often hear that the entrepreneurial journey is a lonely one; were there peers, mentors, coaches or programs that you joined that supported you as you grew the business?
We were accepted into Cohort 5 of Cradle’s Coach and Grow Programme (CGP), designed and conducted by Proficeo, in April, where we received our first experience of an online seminar and coaching to help us concentrate on what we needed to accomplish next after creating HyredZasss.
Our coach in CGP5 provided me with an essential perspective on our approach and differentiated our pivot possibilities during the pandemic. One of the key pieces of advice we received was to concentrate on our digital media messaging as it needed to be in accordance with our user base. Even though English was what we thought would be better for the company in the interim of international generalisation, changing our content to Bahasa Melayu actually increased our user clarity towards our value proposition by 25% compared to last year’s traction.
On top of that, we had the opportunity to be selected to be part of Sunway iLabs Super Accelerator, HLB Launchpad, and the APEC-UNCDF Gig Economy Challenge programmes during the 2020 lockdown. At the Gig Economy Challenge boot camp over the course of 8+ weeks, we were exposed to different regional ideas and gained a deeper understanding of the market environment for the next ten years too. This understanding and advice we received from various mentors and coaches were extremely valuable to us in our entrepreneurial journey.
9. Have you received any industry or recognition awards? Are there any other achievements that you are particularly proud of that you would like our readers to know about?
Before Hyred was available in the market, MDEC recognised our efforts by granting us MSC status in 2018. In 2020, we won the APEC-UNCDF Gig Economy Challenge. All participating APEC Country Finance Ministers and delegates were introduced to Hyred solutions through a reverse planning process that we adopted from Coach and Grow Programme classes. Winning the international challenges boosted our team spirit and set us on the path to achieving our vision.
And during our CGP graduations this year, we were selected as one of the winners of Best Youth Empowerment Platforms too!
We never imagined that we’d be able to survive the pandemic due to the problems we experienced in March 2020. However, we persevered and believed that what we’re doing will benefit future generations while also contributing to the digitization of underserved physical service providers.
10. Do you have a vision you want to share with our readers?
My goal is that as individuals, we will be able to make a living with skills that have been established from the beginning of time. A valuation of skills that can be traded for other things is the new “financials”, meaning that we will be able to make a living and lead a more sustainable life.
Consider how wonderful life would be if we were not under financial duress. Think of it like this: “How can I best exchange my service slots as a barber (or any other job role) to buy a pack of rice at a grocery store?”
TIME = SKILLS + XP + NETWORK → LIFE
We find Hyred’s mission incredibly inspiring. With the pandemic, many Malaysians have faced tough times with unemployment looming over their shoulders. But with Hyred, skill-based job seekers can find a ray of hope and have an opportunity to make a living even in the midst of tough economic times. If you have a social cause you believe in or a world-changing idea, don’t shy away from making it a reality. You might impact and change more lives than you could expect.
For more Crunch Spotlight articles, check out our previous article in collaboration with Virtual X on virtual and augmented reality.
Hyred is a Proficeo alumnus and part of Proficeo’s #KitaMall initiative. Proficeo puts together all the best local products and services for you to discover in one place. Join us in supporting homegrown Malaysian brands at KitaMall today!