Job Fairs Slow to Take Off

To ease the homecoming of migrant workers returning from Russia, the Tajik authorities are now holding job fairs in the capital Dushanbe.

Job Fairs Slow to Take Off

To ease the homecoming of migrant workers returning from Russia, the Tajik authorities are now holding job fairs in the capital Dushanbe.

Tuesday, 17 March, 2009
Somewhat surprisingly, reporter Shoira Yusupova found that while scores of firms and thousands of jobseekers attend the weekly events, there are fewer takers than one might expect.



At the fair she attended, there were just over 4,000 people seeking employment, but only about 180 were placed in work.



Only seven were offered a chance to go and work in Russia, reflecting the falling away of demand in that huge labour market.



Another 25 accepted places on three- to five-month vocational courses to learn sewing, accountancy and IT skills. The government’s employment agency is using the fairs to offer such courses to people with few marketable skills or who want to change career.



About 600 people have been placed in jobs since the fairs started at the beginning of this year.



Khurshid Razzokov, one of a team of psychologists engaged to help conduct interview candidates, says many people want to get the best possible salary but have unrealistic expectations.



“In the three weeks we’ve been working at this fair, we have concluded that candidates generally look at remuneration above all else and pick the job that pays the most," he said. "They don’t measure their own skills and abilities against the requirements of the job they go for. They work for a month and then dump it and walk away.”



Yet money is a vital concern in this low-income country. The average wage on offer at the job fair was just 200 somonis or 50 US dollars a month – which even in Tajikistan is not enough to feed one person, let alone a family.



Talib Mirkamolov has been unemployed for six months, and came from the town of Panjikent especially for the fair.



“We’ve looked at all the vacancies on offer but the wages won’t do for us – 250 or 270 somonis a month [around 70 dollars] – do you call that money?” he asked. “That won’t cover our travel costs here, and we’ve got to live after all.



“We came from a long way away because we thought there would be work in the capital. Now we’ll have to go back home again.”

Support our journalists