Jobapalooza ’09: Do Job Fairs Really Work?

The jobseekers

With a whopping 20,603 job-seekers who registered online and almost 5,000 who came during the event, Jobapalooza could be considered as the biggest job fair in the country. The job-seekers had a lot of stories to tell.

According to Gallardo Maculanlan, a 44-year-old skilled worker who used to work in Qatar, he was applying for a job abroad which has a higher salary than his previous ones. He worked as a heavy equipment mechanic in Qatar for 12 years with a salary of 2,500 Riyal, which, according to him, was not enough to feed and provide for the needs of his two children.

Mel Christian Nuez, 20, a Computer Science student from Lyceum of the Philippines, was there to look for a job that would enable him to help support his family. On the other hand, Mark Jake Flavin, a fresh nursing graduate from Mary Chiles College, looked for work related to nursing while waiting for the nursing board exam in November.

The three job-seekers interviewed by Bulatlat agreed that the event was an effective way to assist job-seekers and new graduates.

Masasabi ko na effective siya (Jobapalooza) kasi maraming companies na nandito so yung mga nawalan ng trabaho na galing sa abroad pwede silang pumunta dito kaya ito inopen para din sa kanila para makatulong na magkaroon ng work ulit at yung mga fresh grad. pwede silang pumunta dito para magamit nila yung profession na pinag-aaralan nila, (I think this is effective because many companies participated, so those who lost their jobs abroad could come here to look for work, and fresh graduates could also come here to look for openings so that they could practice their profession),” Nuez said.

On the spot

According to an update given by DoLE and OWWA by 11:15 a.m. at the designated press room, 2,334 applicants were hired by local employers, while 88 applicants were hired by overseas companies on the spot.

One of the 88 who claimed that he was hired on the spot was Jesus Salvador Mariano. Mariano was at the press room talking with event organizers when the press conference started. The Bulatlat reporters in the press room overheard him asking one of the event organizers to get his album for him. When it was his turn to speak, he related the following story.

He said he went to an overseas company booth, which hires overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), and showed his portfolio and resume. According to Mariano, the company representative asked him a few questions, and voila!, he was hired by an Arab employer.

After relating his story, Mariano left the press conference without entertaining questions from the media.

What comes after?

DoLE and OWWA officials happily announced in newspapers that a total of 4,292 local and 1,224 overseas workers were hired on the spot. Others, they said, were asked to submit contact numbers and email addresses.

But the question remains: How much of a dent do job fairs create on the unemployment and underemployment situation in the country?

According to Ibon Foundation, 11 million Filipinos were either unemployed or underemployed by the end of 2008. These figures do not include those who were retrenched or were made to work shorter hours or were on “job rotation” since the start of 2009.

At the end of the day, when the press releases about the “success” of the job fair have been sent and published, it’s not about how many were hired on the spot that is important — it is how many remain jobless in spite of the many job fairs the government has conducted. (

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