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Salman is linking workers with employers

After giving up a successful accounting career, Salman is using his skills and experience to show other young people in Pakistan the way into work.

Salman Shahid, 27, had a successful career abroad, but chose to return to Pakistan to help others less fortunate than himself in the job market. He has established a unique company linking workers and employers, which he’s hoping will grow and grow.

A personal journey

“I was settled and had a stable career as a Chartered Accountant,” Salman explains, “but I always felt the need to come back home and make my personal contribution to development here.” So, shortly after moving back to Pakistan in 2018, Salman founded Kamayi (meaning ‘Earning’), a company which connects trained workers (from blue/grey collar segments) with their relevant industry employers.

Learning by doing

Salman was lucky enough to work on a project for a consultancy firm which was doing something similar. “Thinking that a vast number of job opportunities are available, especially in Lahore, we felt confident about doing well with the assignment,” he says. However, it wasn’t as simple as that, and Salman learned from the mistakes they made along the way. “As soon as the project ended, I decided to use my experience to address one of the biggest problems in our country: lack of access to employment,” he says.

Reaching the client group

To reach his intended client group, Salman contacted almost 200,000 job seekers on databases obtained from the National Vocational and Technical Training Commission, and Punjab Technical Education and Vocational Training Authority. Out of those contacted, Kamayi then created its own database of all the individuals who were actively looking for jobs. Kamayi does not only aim to find jobs for workers – unique among other employment platforms in Pakistan, it also seeks to provide greater job security.

Keeping it personal

“Instead of freelance or daily-wage work, we connect the labour force with full-time employment opportunities,” Salman says. Moreover, by providing information via phone calls and SMS, and using Urdu as the medium of communication, Salman ensures they reach out to workers who don’t always have the educational qualifications to browse online websites. “We have also tried to personalise the process by taking responsibility for identifying jobs which are relevant to both parties, and informing and coordinating both job seekers and employers,” he says. In the future, Kamayi plans to partner with other sectors such as accommodation and transport to overcome the basic barriers to employment faced by so many.

Facing challenges along the way

Salman’s journey hasn’t been an easy one however. “Getting a job is one thing, but staying in the company is another; employees don’t always find the most favourable work environments and tend to quit immediately if that’s the case,” Salman says. On occasions, Kamayi has had trouble with companies miscommunicating the role profile, not providing compensation, or having no harassment policies, especially for women employees. “Our response is to blacklist these companies so that no other job seeker affiliated with Kamayi has to face similar problems,” he says.

Empowering the workforce

Many job applicants, especially from the working class, face issues such as not understanding recruitment processes or not having CV writing and interview skills. Kamayi, therefore, offers a three-pronged training: firstly, searching for jobs online and find the right match; secondly, improving CV writing and interview skills; and thirdly, polishing employability skills (such as formal communication and good work ethic).

Sights on going nationwide

At present, Kamayi is based in Lahore and works in surrounding cities, but the company has initiated a pilot project in Dhok Hassu, a rural community in the suburbs of Rawalpindi, in collaboration with the Akhtar Hameed Khan Resource Centre. “We aim, one day, to scale up our start-up to a national level,” he says. And as things stand, it seems likely that they will succeed.


Salman‘s story is part of the multiyear campaign, kicked off on International Youth Day 2019 by the Empower Youth for Work program and the Work in Progress! alliance. The campaign aims to support the national influencing work of the respective programs by joining forces with local role models. The ripples of #Iwasthere are spreading out around the world and these stories are proof that change can happen anywhere – we hope they will inspire you, too, to become an active citizen. 

Why these stories?

There are more young people today than ever before in the history of the world; 1.8 billion people between the ages of 10 and 24 worldwide, and 90% of them live in low-income countries. . Harnessing the energy and strength of young women and men to become active citizens is core to Oxfam's goal of transformational change.

With their energy, skills and creativity, young people have the potential to be the driving force for social change, strong economies and vibrant democracies. 

Oxfam is working jointly with youth to challenge barriers that prevent them from


Enjoying their rights


Participating fully in society


Being an effective voice in decision-making processes