New horizon beckons in Middle East

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New horizon beckons in Middle East


Job seekers and students listen as a recruiter discusses finding work in the Middle East at the KB Good Job Fair, held at Coex in southern Seoul yesterday. [NEWSIS]

Jeon Myung-seob, 63, landed a job as a supervisor overseeing construction of a plant in Saudi Arabia after he attended a job fair in Korea that for the first time gave special priority to companies based in the Middle East.

The move comes as Korean companies are experiencing a second boom in terms of plant orders emanating from the region.

“Although I am too old to find meaningful work in Korea, my passion burns as brightly as the sun in the Middle East,” Jeon told a recruiter from Baeksuk Engineering.

Jeon , a former employee at Hyundai E&C, has 10 years’ of experience in the industry,

The video interview discussing job prospects was conducted at the KB Good Job Fair held in Coex, southern Seoul, yesterday.

Not only was the job fair the largest to be held in the country but it was also the first to set up a special section exclusive for companies recruiting those who wish to work in the Middle East.

Some 20 Korean engineering and construction companies including Ssangyong E&C, Hanwha E&C and STX Heavy Industries operating in the Middle East took part.

Officials flew to Korea to meet prospective candidates face to face.

“The aim was to provide more channels for job seekers and recruiters to meet,” said Kim Joong-kwan, an official at KB Financial Group.

Representatives from companies in other overseas locations also attended, either in person or via teleconferencing, hooking up local job seekers with employers in such places as Australia, Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore.

“It’s hard for people over 50 to find a job in the local market, but I seized the opportunity,” Jeon said.

Unlike KB’s inaugural job fair last year, which focused on SMEs, this year’s event invited a greater bandwidth of businesses.

It also featured a special booth for high school graduates that aim to bypass university altogether, and another for entry-level positions for college graduates.

Experienced retirees also had their own special section.

Around 260 businesses participated this year, and 15,000 job seekers applied for interviews.

KB expects the fair to result in 1,500 new hires, up from an estimated 1,000 last year.

Businesses that hire through the fair will be provided with financial benefits such as discounted commission fees and higher interest rates at Kookmin Bank.

By Song Su-hyun[]
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