Fil-HR jobs fair draws thousands in Dubai

At least 4,500 job seekers of various nationalities, including laid-off workers, queued to enter a job fair organised by a group of Filipino HR practitioners in Dubai on Friday.

DUBAI // Organisers found it "overwhelming" when at least 4,500 job seekers of various nationalities queued for the chance at 200 positions during a job fair.

The organisers had expected 1,000 people for the Friday event at The Philippine School in Al Qusais. However by 6am, two hours before the scheduled start time, there were 500 people waiting outside.

It was "overwhelming", said Alan Bacason, president of the Filipino Human Resources Practitioners' Association, known as Fil-HR.

"People turned up in droves and by noon, the venue already had a total of 3,000 job-seekers," he said .

Rowena Penilla, the chairman of the job fair project, said many of those who attended felt their jobs were unstable; some had already been made redundant while the rest had arrived on visit visas and were hoping to land jobs.

"Those who wanted to change jobs said they had not been paid for two to three months and were unhappy with the management," Ms Penilla said. "Others claimed that they were receiving a much lower salary than what the employers had offered them."

The majority of the applicants were Filipinos, but there were also Indians, Pakistanis and Yemenis among the crowd, she said.

The organisers had time to formally process 2,355 people, or a little more than half of the people who came. That included an assessment by Fil-HR members who are human resources manager by trade, as well as a referral for a possible interview with one of 18 employers and recruiters onsite seeking to fill 200 vacancies in a variety of fields.

Hareesh Hareendran, a recruitment officer at Al Bakr Group, said his company had 12 vacancies in the pharmaceutical and real estate sectors.

"We received many CVs and met the applicants, including two people who got laid off," he said. "At least 10 are qualified for the IT co-ordinator role and we're reviewing all the other job applications."

Manoj Padmanabhan, 31, an IT professional who is originally from Kerala, lost his job in January.

"I didn't find a role that matched my skills but the organisers guided me through the whole process," he said. "One company had vacancies for an IT job, but it required a specific software, which I had no experience on."

There is also hope for those job-seekers who had to make do with dropping off a resume. Fil-HR plans to sort them and send them out to appropriate companies and recruitment agencies, said Mr Bacason.

His group plans to organise a second job fair in November.