Over 600 million jobs need to be created over the next decade to provide 400 million jobs for the growing global labour force and eradicate worldwide unemployment of 200 million, according to International Labour Organisation’s Global Employment Trends 2012 report. Qatar, however, need not bother much about the startling figures, with an unemployment rate lower than in any other country at 0.6 percent, including expatriates.
The country’s leadership, nonetheless, is not smug about it and is taking steps not only to create jobs for the present and future generations but providing them opportunities to develop necessary skill set for the new and emerging jobs in the globalised economy. Besides, bringing some of the world’s most prestigious institutions of higher learning and reforms in the education system, one concrete step in this direction is the annual Career Fair that brings together the major job-givers in Qatar at one place where those looking for employment can sample and apply for the diverse array of opportunities available. More than 60,000 people visited the one that concluded on Thursday with thousands applying for positions in over a hundred participating employers.
But has the fair been successful in its mission? Not many think it has been. Many in the community believe the big companies and organisations use the fair as an opportunity for image building rather than actually for hiring. But there is little doubt some of those seeking jobs at the fair have landed one. According to figures released by organisers, 40,000 people visited and 34,402 applied for jobs last year. Of them 2,124 got job offers. A wide disparity in the figures for those hired for work and those who applied for jobs, indeed. In 2010, the career fair offered 2,486 jobs while in 2011, opportunities declined to 2,124. That when the number of participants in the fair saw a slight increase.
The number of hirings should not be seen as the sole measure of the fair’s success, however. “This is a good opportunity for job aspirant to meet the employers. There is high number of employers and its impossible for anyone to go to all these companies and look for job openings,” said Dr Saif Ali Al Hajri, former Vice Chairman, Qatar Foundation.
For job aspirants, it is an opportunity to know various employers, their work culture and the career upgrading chances they can get. This year’s fair, beside providing job opportunities, offered a number of programmes and initiatives to spread career awareness and knowledge with an aim to consolidate the career culture among students and graduates.
For the true success of the fair, both aspirants and employers need to change their mindset. Aspirants must not look at it merely as a walk-in interview opportunity but as a means to chart their career plan. The firms should take advantage of it as campus recruitment drive multiplied many fold and integrate it in their hiring policy and truly prepare for it. Not many do as one of the job seeker at the event pointed out to The Peninsula, majority of exhibitors did not even have a listing of opportunities or vacancies and was merely collecting resumes from any one who turned up at their pavilion.
That must change.
Peninsula (7th Apr 2012)
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