Monday 21, May 2018 by Jessica Combes

Ride-hailing app Careem boosts employment across MENA


The Dubai-based company indirectly creates 80,000 new jobs for men and women every month

The ride-hailing company does not directly employ drivers, though they undergo training and receive other benefits, including emergency funds and free education, according to Co-Founder Mudassir Sheikha.

The platform currently has about 800,000 drivers, called 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.

The company does not directly employ their drivers, but the company makes a point to look after them by providing training and other benefits, including emergency funds and free education.

Sheikha added that in the UAE an emergency fund is in place forcaptains, which they can tap into if they have a need that is not covered by their income, while in Pakistan, Careem has partnered with a number of schools where captains can send their children for education.

Careem has tackled social taboos head on, hiring female “captinahs” in Egypt, Jordan and Pakistan, and soon 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 25 June. She was selected to become the first “captainah” from among around 3,000 women, according to Arabian Business. 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.

The 43-year-old learned how to drive in her native Syria where she holds a driving licence and said that she expects to be able to obtain a Saudi licence when she completes the mandatory 10 hours of driving tuition under the new laws.

"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,” said Sheikha, adding that Careem has an opportunity and a responsibility to create employment opportunities for both men and women.

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