Thousands hired on the spot at gov't Labor Day job fair
MANILA, Philippines – Almost everyone in line was in corporate attire, clutching clipboards or binders with resumés, hoping to clinch a schedule for an interview, maybe even get hired instantly.
They were among the unemployed, who comprised 7% to 7.5% of the workforce 4 years into Benigno Aquino III's presidency. And at the government-sponsored job fair at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City on Labor Day, thousands of them were hired on the spot – HOTS, as the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) called them.
As of mid-afternoon of Thursday, May 1, around 13% of those who registered for the job fair were HOTS – specifically, 2,264 of the 17,295 who had lined up at the venue.
“This is not a band-aid solution. It’s helpful because it provides employment to our countrymen,” said DOLE Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz.
Among those HOTS, 1,779 were for local hiring, while 485 got job placements abroad.
According to Bureau of Local Employment Director Dominique Tutay, those hired on the spot for local placement will mostly get jobs as factory workers and sales staff,
Those hired for jobs abroad will be deployed to Saudi Arabia, Dubai, and Taiwan, he said.
As for the rest of the participants – 14,575 of them – they were considered for further interviews by prospective employers. Almost 12,000 will be for local job placements and 2,719 for overseas jobs.
The goverment has conducted 69 job fairs in 16 regions nationwide, except in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. In these fairs, a total of 140,338 vacancies were offered by 610 local and overseas employers.
Appearance over skills?
Not all applicants instantly got hired, however, even if they had experience.
One of them was Margarita Nagor. At 63, she was seeking a job at call centers.
“I became a single parent 15 years ago, so I had to do a tutorial and telemarketing at the same time, but my income wasn't enough for my two children so I tried call center,” Nagor said.
Being a call center agent is not new to her. Nagor said she entered the industry in 2008 and had been with 5 different call center companies in 5 years.
At her age, according to her, she faced the sad fact that local applicants had to deal with: the employers’ preference for younger employees with "pleasing personality" over those who have the skills and the drive
“It’s hard for me this time to find other work than in a call center,” Nagor said. “I just need work for two or three years more because I don't want to depend on others for my needs then I will retire and possibly just do business after,” she added.
Tito Aklan, 43, was also among those who had to queue to speak to potential employers abroad but did not get hired. He, like many other faceless Filipinos, sets his sights on job security, higher wages, and stability in another place far from home — anywhere but the Philippines.
Aklan left his wife and 7-year-old child in Tagbilaran City in Bohol for Manila in 2013 to apply for work abroad in Manila. According to him, his son is growing up and his income back home as a sales agent for a motorcycle company is no longer enough to sustain the needs of his family.
“It’s all I want. I am willing to do everything to achieve this,” Aklan said.