Which sectors are withstanding the COVID-19 crisis in Morocco? Insights from job board data

It comes as no surprise that the consequences of the global COVID-19 pandemic have been devastasting to the world economy. Unfortunately, Morocco is no stranger to this reality. In addition to heavily relying on tourism and trade (32% of the GDP), Morocco saw most of its economy freeze during its lengthy confinement period (state-mandated and strictly enforced for three months, from March 20 to June 20, 2020).

During this period, a big chunk of of the Moroccan economy was forced to go on a hiatus. The crisis was so severe that about 6 million Moroccan households (that is, ~75% of all households in Morocco) requested the state’s assistance through the stimulus income that the government paid out during this time (Source: L’Economiste).

So I asked myself: which sectors and companies are able to withstand this crisis? Is there a way to find out without having to wait for official statistics?

Well, it turns out that recruiting data on job boards (companies posting their hiring needs) could be a good indicator to answer my question. If companies are hiring, then they are more likely to be growing their revenues and less likely to be firing their employees.

To answer this question, I use data from a popular job board in Morocco: rekrute.com. There are other job board websites, such as emploi.ma or novojob.com, but I focus on rekrute.com given its popularity. The goal of this exercise is not to quantify how many jobs are available right now, but rather to deduce which sectors are more or less immune to the crisis. Therefore, I suspect and hope that data from rekrute.com is representative of the other job boards and the (formal) labor market in the country.

Of course, an important caveat to note is that online recruiting is a small fraction of overall recruiting. Most jobs in the country are in the informal sector, and even some jobs in the formal sectors continue to recruit informally (e.g., from word of mouth, family members).

The Data

There are currently 961 unique job posts on Rekrute.com. Each unique job post is intended for one profession, but there might be multiple positions associated with the job post. Recruiters indicate how many positions they are hiring for within a given job post.

The minimum date of publication across all 961 job posts is June 1st 2020, an indicator that the hiring of these job posts are on-going and not expired.

The data from Rekrute.com was a bit harder to scrape than usual, mainly due to an infinite scrolling page functionality, which made my job harder. After a few days of trying to do it myself in R, I found a low-code scraping tool, Octoparse, which helped me do the job super quickly.

Hiring Volume By Sector: Tech and Call Centers are the kings of hiring right now

On Rekrute.com the largest sectors based on unique job posts are: Technology (informatique), call centers (centre d’appel) and banking / finance. The tech sector is well ahead of the other two, having more than double the job posts than the call center industry.

When we look at the number of positions within job posts, the picture looks a bit different. Perhaps not surprisingly, the number of call center jobs exceed those of the tech industry, both followed by interim recruitment jobs and banking / finance jobs.

Who is hiring, and where?

A. Who is hiring within the tech sector, and where?

Within the tech sector, the vast majority of jobs are distributed between Casablanca and Rabat (in addition to one company hiring for ~10 positions in Fes). The top 3 tech companies that are heavily hiring are software services companies: multinational companies atos and sofrecom and altados, a Moroccan company.

B. Who is hiring within the call centers sector, and where?

Within the call center sector, most jobs again are in Casablanca, with a few in Rabat and Marrakech. The top 2 hiring companies are web help and intelcia, both multinational companies implanted in Morocco. Each is hiring for ~18 unique job posts (but filling many more positions within those).

C. Who is hiring in banking, and where?

In banking, the largest bank in the country, Attijariwafa-bank, is hiring for 35 positions, mostly in tech functions (e.g., data architect, system admin). Software services company altados is hiring freelancers to work in the banking sector (Scrum masters, developers). Both employers are hiring exclusively in Casablanca.

D. Who is hiring in energy, and where?

In the energy sector, Lydec et Suez, a company that manages the distribution of water and electricity in Casablanca, is hiring for 5 positions. Other actors are green energy companies (e.g., green energy park, giz maroc) , hiring for very few positions outside Casablanca.

E. Who is hiring in distribution, and where?

In the distribution sector, supermarket chain Label Vie is hiring for commercial roles all over Morocco, including in small cities such as Beni Mellal. The other companies are hiring for fewer than 3 positions, mainly in Casablanca.

What profiles are recruiters looking for right now?

1. By Education

The vast majority of employers on rekrute.com require a 5 -year university degree as the education requirement for their jobs. There are a few (~100) that only require a high school diploma (Bac), while more require 2–3 years of university post the Bac (around ~300 job posts)

When we break down the job posts by sector, we can see that:

  • 75% of job posts in tech and banking require 5 years of university
  • 50% of jobs in the call center industry only require a high school diploma.
  • In Energy, 5 years of university is also preferred, but there is also room for fewer years of university.
  • In the distribution sector, the majority of jobs require education between 2 to 4 years post high-school.

2. By Experience Level

The majority of job employers in this site are looking for experienced hires, those workers with 1 to 10 years of experience. Early career professionals (1 -5 years of experience) are also in high demand, together with mid-career (5 to 10 years). There’s also some demand for beginners.

When we break down experience level by sector, we can see that excluding the call centers, all other sectors are looking for workers with at least 1 year of experience. Beyond that, roughly 30% of posts in each sector require 3–5 years of experience, but there is also plenty of room for more experienced applicants (e.g., in tech, 25% of job posts require 5–10 years of experience).

TL;DR: So, who’s hiring?

Unsurprisingly, the top hiring sectors in Morocco, those who might be withstading the current COVID-19 crisis, are mostly those that are in high-demand and do not require physical presence (Tech, Call Centers and Banking), and those that are deemed absolutely essential (Distribution and Energy).

Most jobs are in Casablanca, and beyond that, they are distributed between Rabat and a handful other cities, depending on the industry.

Only Call Center jobs do not require a university education, and accept absolute beginners. Distribution is another sector that is less demanding when it comes to education requirements, but does however require at least 2 years of university. In the other sectors, a 5-year university degree is often preferred, especially in tech.

Finally, these jobs are hiring for all experience levels, from absolute beginners (call centers mainly) to 10+ years of experience.

If you’ve read all the way to here, thank you! If you think this should be translated, let me know!!

Curious. Passionate about storytelling through data. Interested in Work, Skills and EdTech. Twitter: @KenzaBouhaj

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