The China-Stanbic Job Fair attracted over 1 800 job seekers as the inaugural event took giant strides towards playing a pivotal role in employment creation for locals.
The two-day event which was hosted by leading financial services institution, Stanbic Bank in partnership with Chinese Chamber of Enterprises in Zimbabwe (CCEZ) was an overwhelming success with 2000 applicants, predominantly recent university graduates, thronging the event venue seeking information and jobs from Chinese companies.
CCEZ Vice Chairman, Shanel Liu said the job applicants dropped off their CVs and met with employers and company representatives with around 20% undergoing interviews during the fair while more interviews are scheduled for the coming weeks.
“The event was a resounding success as a result of the collaboration between the Chamber of Chinese Enterprises and Stanbic Bank. It has achieved its goal by providing an opportunity for job seekers struggling to find suitable work,” said Shanel.
She said it was heartening to see job seekers meeting with employers and company representatives face to face as they got to gain a deeper understanding of their career prospects and pursue preferred pathways through networking with potential employers.
On the other hand, employers got to identify suitable talent having engaged them as part of the early recruitment process.
“Our Chinese enterprises have invested in Zimbabwe, in a wide range of industries, and this successful launch of the Job Fair has spurred us to invest long term in the event which has proved to be a solid platform for the provision of jobs for Zimbabwean job seekers and boosting the local economy,” said Shanel.
Over 30 Chinese enterprises drawn from various sectors such as mining, agriculture, textiles, hospitality, information and Technology and construction among others participated at the fair.
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Shanel said the popular positions that job seekers were looking for included Human Resources, drivers, electricians, accountants, engineers and translators.
“It is worth noting that the enterprises are offering salaries that are equivalent or above Industry Grading System with truck drivers set to earn between US$400-500; Laboratory Technicians US$500-800; Welders level 4-6 US$300+; Electrician level 6 US$350+; blaster US$500; Stores clerk US$200; Translator/Admin US$600-1200+,” said Shanel.
The CCEZ is an association of over 80 Chinese business corporations, most of which are listed companies, operating in diverse sectors of the Zimbabwean economies such as agriculture, mining, telecommunication, tourism, power generation, health and medical and manufacturing.
Shanel said in line with global economic downturn, unemployment rate in Zimbabwe continues to rise hence the idea to hold the job fair.
“We share the same belief with Stanbic Bank that creating more and better quality jobs is key to boosting economic growth, reducing poverty, increasing social stability and assisting business to grow in a healthy direction. The idea of the job fair came after the realization that there were gaps between the supply side of employment and the demand side of industry,” said Shanel.
Stanbic Bank Head of Business and Commercial Clients, Patson Mahatchi reiterated that the Standard Bank Group subsidiary considered Africa and Zimbabwe, in particular, as its home hence was committed to playing a key role in the economic development of the southern Africa nation.
Mahatchi said Stanbic Bank was also tapping into the institutions’ mutually beneficial relationships with CCEZ and its other ties with China through the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China. He also said that this year Stanbic Bank had rolled out a solution that assists companies and individuals in importing from China which has been well received in the market.
“In line with our parent company, the Standard Bank Group’s core focus, we are committed to driving the growth of the continent and so when we say Africa is our home we really mean it and as Stanbic Bank we are well poised to drive the development of the country,” said Mahatchi.
Economic and Commercial Counsellor at the Chinese Embassy, Huang Minghai, said the fair was the perfect platform for Chinese companies operating in Zimbabwe to allay misconceptions about how unprofessional they operate.
Huang said for years, Chinese companies have not only created thousands of local jobs, but also have comprehensive Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives that benefit the communities in which they operate.
“Most Chinese companies have contributed to the development of the local communities by building hospitals, schools and roads, drilling boreholes, donating foodstuffs and personal protective equipment. Most Chinese employers keep good relationships with local workers. Some allegations of improper practices by a few Chinese employers are mainly because of misunderstandings or cultural difference,” said Huang.
In a speech read for him, The Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Professor Paul Mavima said the job fair was key in that it complemented government’s efforts to create employment as enshrined under the Vision 2030.
“Ladies and gentlemen, economic growth and employment creation is at the heart of Government policy thrust. The Government of Zimbabwe has pronounced its Vision 2030 statement, which aims to move the country, “Towards a Prosperous and Empowered Upper Middle_Income Society by 2030”,” said Professor Mavima.