Results of job fairs are disappointing

POSTED: 12/1/15 8:29 PM


wwwjob hunt 4A scene from the Start Here campaign in September. File photo Today / Milton Pieters

Many matches, only six positions filled

St. Maarten – The department of labor affairs has matched 102 vacancies to 83 suitable candidates who registered during the Start Here campaign in September. Of these candidates, 32 were men and 51 were women. More than 105 candidates were not suitable for the job market, due to poor education.

The majority of job seekers who registered in September were between 16 and 34 years of age; 35 fell in the 16-24 age category, and 28 in the 25-34 category. Nine applicants were between 35 and 44 and 11 between 45 and 59.

The majority of the applicants had a formal education, like secondary school (44), associates degree (16), bachelors’ degree (20), masters’ degree (1), Vocational/Sundial school (2).

The registration drive added 319 jobseekers to the department’s database. Of this number, there was no match between 131 applicants and vacancies. They were not suitable for the registered vacancies due to a lack of experience, or insufficient education; other were not interested in the available vacancies because the already had a job, or because they were looking for a career change.

The labor department said in a press release that the private sector registered vacancies from entry level positions to supervisory, mid-management and more senior positions. The 102 matches were linked to 25 businesses, representing 38 positions. The 83 applicants who matched vacancies, all received notification from the labor department with the intention to set up job interviews.

To date however, only 18 business conducted interviews and only six positions have been filled.

“More than 105 applicants are not suitable for immediate placement in the labor market due to poor educational background, most having only completed primary school,” the labor department stated in its press release.

The department will invite this group and provide them with tips about preparing for job interviews and other opportunities, like participation in the Labor Affairs training program. According to the department, the success rate of this program is 70 percent.

The labor department participated through a public-private partnership in a job fair organized by the St. Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association (SHTA) on October 24. Sixteen of the 130 registered SHTA member companies took part. The labor department notes in its press release, with some dismay, that noticeable absent from this job fair was the Indian Merchant Association, as well as key players in the marine industry, major insurance companies and security companies.

“Most visitors to the job fair were not interviewed on the spot, but they were handed flyers and application forms with the promise that they would be contacted for an interview at a later date.”

The department furthermore notes that two major hotels had already hosted their own recruitment drives “with mixed results.”

“Possibly it is time to explore other avenues to source suitable candidates,” the press release states. “The overall results, of both the Start Here campaign and the SHTA/Labor Affairs job fair could be a more prolific indication that the business community must take the matter of job placement serious and must improve on its commitment to source suitable candidates from the local labor market, and specifically from the database of those who are unemployed.”

On the other hand, the labor department also had something to say about job seekers: “Those seeking employment must understand the value of being suitably prepared for the world of work, with everything that entails, from suitable attire to professional resumes.”

In this respect, the department lauded the PSVE interview project that takes “a conscious look at this as a need within the educational system.”

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