Dubai-based ride-hailing app Careem is creating around 80,000 new jobs for men and women every month, according to co-founder Mudassir Sheikha.
The platform currently has about 800,000 drivers (or captains) who earn a living through Careem.
“We’re creating 70-80,000 new jobs every month, which is probably one of the fastest job creating engines in the region… captains who work on the platform and earn a living that supports their families, sends their kids to schools and helps them improve the quality of their lives,” Sheikha told Arabian Business.
While the app does not directly employ anyone (drivers are self-employed), they undergo training and receive other benefits, including emergency funds and free education.
“In the way we work with these captains, we are not just focused on giving them a way to earn a living, but we take it upon ourselves to look after them. There are many things we’ve done to help them in various times of need,” Sheikha said.
"In the UAE, we have an emergency fund for captains, which they can tap into if they have a need that is not covered by their income. In Pakistan, we recently launched a partnership with some schools that allow our captains to send their kids to school and get education."
Careem has also been focusing on breaking social taboos, as it has female “captinahs” in Egypt, Jordan and Pakistan. It will also have women drivers in Sudan, where it just recently launched.
The app recently unveiled its first female driver in Saudi Arabia, Enaam Gazi Al-Aswad, as the Gulf kingdom prepares to allow women behind the wheel from June 25. She was selected to become the first “captainah” from among around 3,000 women.
The 43-year-old said she learned how to drive in her native Syria, and has a driving licence from that country, adding that she expects to be able to obtain a Saudi licence when she completes 10 hours of driving tuition under the new laws. She has already received all the necessary training from Careem after being hand-picked by the company soon after last year’s royal decree on women driving.
“When it comes to women, we are working more and more on [breaking] social taboos to get women to work on the platform as well,” said Sheikha.
"There are quite a lot of female captains who are serving both men and women. In Pakistan, it was a slightly bigger social taboo, but we launched female captains not just behind cars, and we have created a lot of the enabling that infrastructure they need to provide that service as well, because they’re a little more vulnerable to safety so we created special hotlines for them to call our security line to feel safe."
He added that it is an opportunity and a responsibility to create employment opportunities for both men and women.
]”We are working through social taboos one at a time. What we’ve seen happen in places such as Pakistan, which is close to Sudan in the taboo side, is you need some brave women to step up and do it and then share the story. It creates inspiration for other women to follow suit. When they tell their stories, it will create a bigger momentum to address social taboos,” he said.For all the latest transport news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
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