BY ZOFI LEAL
Job fairs supposedly offer job seekers with an opportunity to explore companies and jobs that suit their qualifications, in terms of education, training, and experience, in order to harness their potentials. But choices in terms of types of jobs being offered are limited, a reflection of the limited employment opportunities being offered by society. With the worsening state of unemployment in the country, job fairs serve the needs of companies more than job-seekers.
Job Fiesta 2006 is only one of the many organized job fairs in the country today. Approximately 4000 applicants were said to have come to the fair last March 30-31 at the Shoe Mart Mall in Manila. It was organized by the Colegio de San Juan de Letran Alumni Association with the help of Honors, Inc.
The job fair attracted a mix of young and old people alike. There were undergraduates searching for a summer job, fresh graduates trying to land their first job, and people who are still looking for a job and are part of the 2.8 million unemployed and 6.9 million underemployed Filipinos.
Out of the 30 companies that participated in the said event, 11 are from the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry. The others included publishing and manufacturing firms. In the pre-registration sheets, one can notice that most applicants are graduates of courses that are not in line with jobs being offered in a job fair like this. There were graduates of BS Psychology, AB Sociology, BS Management and the like lining up for Sykes Asia, Incorporated, a well known call center agency.
While waiting for my turn to pass my application form, I was able to talk with people regarding their thoughts about the job fair and employment issues they might have. Rose and Julie are incoming third year students taking up Architecture at the Technological University of the Philippines. Julie is looking for a summer job so that she can pay for her tuition fee in the coming school year. I asked them about their plans for long-term employment in the future. Expectedly, they want to have a job that is related to their course. But, Rose said, if she will not be able to find a job related to her chosen field, she will definitely apply for a call center job. She added that nowadays, one would just have to make do with what is available.
Katrina is a fresh graduate of Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila majoring in Management. She came with her friends. They were supposedly going to Makati to apply at the companies there but they learned about the job fair and decided to try their luck. She applied at a call center company. She hopes that she would rise up the corporate ladder and be a manager so that she can practice what she studied in school.
For Eric, it was a different story. He took up Marine Engineering in college. He said that he came to the job fair in the hope that an international shipping company would be participating. As it turned out, there was none. He decided not to apply at any of the companies in the fair because he felt that he was not suited to the jobs being offered. He is currently unemployed but had worked at a local shipping company and at Pizza Hut.
Agnes Abuel-Guda, one of the Directors of Honors, Inc. explained that there were a lot of call center companies in the job fair because the industry is booming and that applicants are also increasing. When asked about the mismatch between the educational background of the applicants and the type of jobs being offered in the fair, she said that call center companies do not have openings only for call center agents. There are other positions being offered such as in the human resource department.
As a fresh graduate attending my second job fair (the first one was held at University of Sto. Tomas), I immediately knew, just by looking at the companies listed, that I would not find a job matching the course I studied in my four years of college. In my course, English is but a part of my general education subjects. Observing and talking with people in the job fair, I knew I was not the only one feeling out of place.
Job fairs supposedly offer people a variety of choices and opportunities. Job seekers are supposedly provided with an opportunity to explore companies and jobs that suit their qualifications, in terms of education, training, and experience, in order to harness their potentials.
However, this is not the case. Choices in terms of types of jobs being offered are limited. Job fairs merely reflect the limited employment opportunities being offered by society. With the worsening state of unemployment in the country, job fairs serve the needs of companies more than job-seekers. (Bulatlat.com)