22 Jun 21

Hiring again! Dubai-based Careem on road to recovery

Careem, the Dubai-based app owned by Uber, has hired over 200 staff as it begins to rebound from the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The fleet and mobility markets in the Middle East were discussed at the Global Fleet Conference. You can source all of the live sessions and regional streams here.

During the peak of the pandemic, Careem (best known for its ride-hailing service) said the number of rides it carried out dropped by around 80% and it set about laying people off. In May 2020, the company announced that it had laid off 536 employees, representing 31% of its workforce. A press statement described the recovery period at the time as “alarmingly unknown.”

Diversifying to secure a future

In the last 12 months, Careem has diversified, from a purely ride-hailing app to what it describes as a “super app,” offering additional services such as grocery delivery, courier, and payment facilities. Branching out in this way has helped save the business and instigated the need for new employees.

Quoted last week on Arab News, Mudassir Sheikha, CEO and co-founder of Careem, said the development and expansion of the super app meant a change in the types of roles needed.

“There has been a transformation from a ride-hailing business to a super app, and that’s a transformation that’s quite technical in nature, and we’re still in the early stages. So we’re heavily recruiting in certain parts of the business,” he added.

The need for a diversified set of talent

In an interview with the Arab News program “Frankly Speaking” in February, Sheikha said some areas of the company had begun to see strong growth, and the company was looking forward to a full recovery to pre-pandemic business levels by the end of 2021.

“From the depths of that crisis, we’ve actually recovered quite strongly. If you look at the mobility of people business, which moves people from point A to point B, it has grown 10 times from that point,” he added. 

“The ‘mobility of things’ business — the delivery business — didn’t get impacted as much, to begin with, and that has grown four times. Even our nascent Careem Pay business — the ‘mobility of money’ as we call it — has doubled in size. So the businesses have recovered strongly from that low point.”

Careem was founded in July 2012 and operates in over 100 cities in 13 countries in the Middle East. In March 2019, it was announced that Careem was being bought by international rival Uber as part of a $3.1 billion deal.

Image: ride-hailing driver wearing Careem lanyard, courtesy of Shutterstock. 

Authored by: Alison Pittaway