JOB FAIRS: deceptive and false hopes or a real chance to find a job?

Maria Owczarz

 Is there anything else than a bundle of leaflets and pockets full of free sweets that a person takes away from job fairs? How many of you have ever been to such an event and what are your impressions?

On 13th of March, 2013, in the Fair Centre of Lublin took place the eighth edition of the International Job Fairs organized by the Voivodeship Labour Office of Lublin with a co-operation of EURES – European Employment Services. For 7 hours a great hall became a place where approximately 60 exhibitors, both local, national and foreign presented their companies, for example, Adecco Poland S.A., Jeronimo Martins Polska S.A., Instal – Lublin Sp. Z o. O.,, POL-Inowex S.A. Among this number there were 11 from foreign countries, most of which were representatives of previously mentioned EURES, but also companies such us: Clockwork Bemanning AS from Bergen or HSI Personaldienste from Germany.

Few words about EURES itself – it is a network of cooperation within public employment services designed to facilitate the free movement of workers within the European Economic Area (just to remind – EEA are 27 European Union member states as well as Norway, Iceland and Switzerland), everything is coordinated by the European Commission. What is the purpose of this network? Basically it is to promote geographical and professional workers’ mobility. It aims at providing information, advice and any kind of help to job seekers interested in undertaking employment abroad as well as to employers who want to hire workers from other EU member states. Additionally, all services that the EURES advisers offer to their clients are free of charge and include access to information to job seekers and employers, guidance for individuals interested in professional mobility, distribution and exchange of vacancies, regional labour market analyses as well as information on living and working conditions in particular EU member states among all EURES advisers. EURES consists of more that 850 EURES advisers that are in daily contact with job seeker and employers across Europe.

During these Job Fairs I had a chance to help as a volunteer at one of the international stands of EURES, namely Norwegian one. There is no doubt that Norway is concerned one of the most prosperous countries in Europe, no wonders then that this booth was surrounded by people all the time. EURES itself does not hire people, it is not a company that provides a job but a kind of agent that helps in the process of seeking for a job.

What are my impressions after that time? Well, apart from learning plenty of new things and realities of labour market, sometimes I felt really bad when I had to tell every person approaching to our stand that without solid English skills (Norwegian is an additional advantage), proper documents proving their abilities and at least few years of experience in a particular profession – they do not come to Norwegian employers’ expectations. In a situation when almost every person interested in a job in Norway did not feel well with his or her English and could hardly perform spontaneously a simple interview talk with one of representatives of Norwegian stand or did not have a diploma in engineering, ship design or any other similar profession – that could be really discouraging for them. Still, I absolutely do not want to generalize, it is not true that nobody could speak English but a great majority of them did not feel confident which, unfortunately, is the condition.

How to assess such Job Fairs then? For some people this kind of event is nothing else but a waste of time. Why? They complain that most of this companies have too high requirements for a simple worker with profession such as a roofer or a locksmith. Besides, every single company requires at least few years of experience which in Polish working conditions is not always so easy to achieve. Therefore, a probable company is not able to hire such a person nor is eager to provide them a way to gain such an experience. The question is: where then one should find and gather experience?  Where is the core of the problem then? Are people seeking for a job too critical or simply uneducated or rather companies should be blamed for too demanding expectations and requirements? Those and many other questions are to be answered.

While for some people job fairs might be overwhelming with many people waiting to see the same employers, crowds and noise, still it can be treated as a valuable tool and a good way to meet company representatives face-to-face. It is said that this year during the eights edition of the International Job Fairs approximately 7800 people came to see what different companies have to offer. I just wonder how many of them left that place with their minds full of hope of gaining new job, especially in the most desired countries such as Norway, Sweden or the UK.

I encourage you to visit the website of EURES, anyway.                 work

Maybe you will find something interesting there?

Good luck!

3 thoughts on “JOB FAIRS: deceptive and false hopes or a real chance to find a job?

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