Record crowd turns up for jobs fair in mall

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Sunday, June 1, 2014

THOUSANDS of jobseekers showed up for’s Happy Jobs Fair last Saturday, many of them turning up at the mall venue as early as 8:30 a.m. and filling nearly the entire third floor.

Organizers have yet to disclose how many attended as they are still collating the data, but Salve Tagalog, manager of SM Cebu Trade Hall, said that probably “broke the record for job fair attendance” in SM Cebu.

Wesley Chiongbian, founder and chief executive officer, said there were more than 8,000 jobseekers who registered online. At least 67 employers participated.


Chiongbian said they did not expect the huge turnout, and the long lines prompted them to request the mall to open the vacant spaces of the Trade Hall to accommodate all applicants.

“On top of those who registered online, many walk-in applicants showed up,” he said.

Mary Rose Loquinario, 24, a fresh graduate, was one of those who tried her luck. She holds a degree in Information and Communications Technology and is hoping to land a job related to her course. Loquinario said it was her first time to join a job fair outside school.

“I started sending out applications right after graduation. But the job hunting wasn’t a walk in a park. One of the challenges I met was being offered a different job because the positions I applied for were already filled,” she said.

Loquinario said she is not closing her doors to other opportunities and is thinking of joining the business process outsourcing industry should she be accepted.

“I can’t afford to wait longer because my father has diabetes. I should be able to find work by June,” she added.

Mia Fardo Caminade, 28, is open to whatever opportunities will come her way.

“For now it doesn’t matter if I land a job different to my course or if I would be working here or abroad. What matters most to me now is finding a job,” said Caminade, who is a graduate of Hotel and Restaurant Management. She is a single mother.

Caminade said she didn’t have the opportunity to look for a job after graduation because she got pregnant. She started looking for a job last year and has a pending application for a job posting in Dubai.

“They haven’t called me yet, so to maximize time I am also trying my luck here,” she said.

Amid the abundance of job opportunities in the country, Rogelio Lolo, 46, believes working overseas would give him the life he wants for his family.

“There are more opportunities for skilled workers abroad than working here. We are better paid there,” said Lolo, an overseas Filipino worker since 2006. He is applying for a job as a piping foreman for UAE.

He came home last December and is eager to get back to work now that school is opening.

“My job abroad is contract-based. I work for two years and can come home once per year. I’ve got a month for vacation,” Lolo said. He gets paid an average of $3.5 per hour working abroad.

He noted the “waiting time” is one of the hardest aspects of looking for a job.

“Your savings will get depleted and in case you get hired, you will spend again for medical examinations and placement fees,” Lolo said.

The whole-day career event hosted by was in partnership with the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) and the first official event to mark the opening of the Cebu Business Month 2014.

The bulk of the job vacancies were for the business process outsourcing industry, while more than a thousand vacancies were for skilled and technical workers overseas.

Most of the job vacancies require one to four years experience, while there are also available positions for entry level or fresh graduates.

In earlier interviews, Chiongbian noted an increase of 25 percent in the number of job vacancies across all services in the first five months this year, over the same period in 2013.

The online job portal posts an average of 2,000 job vacancies every month.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 02, 2014.


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