— Partnership Seeks to Disrupt Exploitative Labor Recruitment And Reduce Risks of Forced Labor in Supply Chains
San Francisco, September 2nd, 2021-
The Working Capital Innovation Fund (WCIF) announced today a $500,000 investment in Honest Jobs Holdings Ltd, a Hong-Kong based responsible recruitment holding company. Honest Jobs will use the funding to help local entrepreneurs fill the demand for responsibly recruited workers in domestic service and supply chains. The result will be the creation of safe and ethical alternatives to today’s typically exploitative labor migrant pathways, improving financial outcomes for tens of thousands of migrant workers, and reducing the risks of forced labor.
Labor migration is generally facilitated by intermediaries – labor recruiters — who charge fees to workers to place them in a job. The system is rife with exploitation and often leads to forced labor. Honest Jobs will use WCIF’s investment to capitalize start-up responsible recruitment ventures in several countries in Asia. These ventures will meet a growing demand for workers in global supply chains who have been recruited according to ethical ‘employer pays’ standards. The risks of worker-paid recruitment have been well documented in industries as varied as electronics, apparel, and construction. Until the creation of Honest Jobs Holdings, there has not been a firm designed to scale a systemic response to this problem.
Honest Jobs Holdings is the most recent venture of the Fair Employment Foundation. The Foundation’s first initiative — the Hong Kong-based Fair Employment Agency — has successfully shown the industry-level influence that ethical recruitment agencies can have. Honest Jobs will work with local entrepreneurs across Asia, adapting the Fair Employment Agency’s model to diverse markets and industries.
“If the business community is going to solve the well-documented risks that face migrant workers in global supply chains, there must be alternative recruitment pathways that give workers access to good jobs without putting them at risk,” said Dan Viederman, Managing Director of WCIF.
“In Scott Stiles, we are working with an entrepreneur who has proven he can deliver ethical recruitment and who marries a vision of the future with the practical business management skills to achieve it.”
Scott Stiles, Founder and CEO of Honest Jobs Holdings added;
“Over the years, we have been encouraged by the number of aspiring social entrepreneurs who have reached out to us, wanting to replicate Fair’s model. They want to set new standards for Ethical Recruitment in their own country. The Honest Jobs approach allows us to fund and mentor the social entrepreneurs dedicated to driving new standards for Ethical Recruitment. We are grateful and excited to be working with the Working Capital team. There isn’t a more qualified partner to help us raise the rest of our funds and amplify our impact.”
WORKING CAPITAL INNOVATION FUND
Working Capital Innovation Fund is an early-stage venture fund that invests in scalable innovations to meet the growing corporate demand for more transparent and ethical supply chains—addressing the urgent need to protect vulnerable workers and source responsibly. It was initially incubated by Humanity United, which is founded by The Omidyar Group, a diverse collection of independent organizations and initiatives. The Fund has made eleven investments to date.
Honest Jobs and The Fair Employment Foundation
Honest Jobs Holdings is a subsidiary of the Fair Employment Foundation. Since 2014, the Fair Group has been building market solutions to eliminate the forced labor of migrant workers. Their first initiative, the Fair Employment Agency, is a non-profit employment agency that is one of the largest employment agencies in Hong Kong and driving industry standards for hiring migrant domestic workers in Hong Kong. Fair then worked with local leadership in the Philippines to establish the Fair Training Center, a non-profit social business to prepare migrant workers for life and work overseas. It is an “Innovation Hub” for the development, testing, and distribution of pre-migration training. Now with Honest Jobs Holdings, Fair is focused on funding, connecting, and mentoring entrepreneurs who are dedicated to building ethical recruitment agencies across Asia. It is the next strategic step for Fair to scale ethical recruitment, making it the standard across Asia and globally.
In addition to this support from Working Capital, Fair receives programmatic grant funding from longtime partner, the Macquarie Group Foundation. Macquarie Group Foundations’ early support allowed Fair to move forward with Honest Jobs Holdings and prepare it for investment.