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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Working for a mature job market

Working for a mature job market

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SOVANN PHILONG

Franco-Cambodian Chamber of Commerce Director Denis Gambade.

WHAT'S IN STORE

CAREERS FORUM

  • What The 2009 Career Forum is an opportunity for Cambodian job seekers and employers to meet.
  • Where The Mondial Centre, 315 Mao Tse-tung Boulevard, Phnom Penh.
  • When Saturday, March 28, and Sunday, March 29, from 9am.
  • Who The Career Forum is organised by the Franco-Cambodian Chamber of Commerce.
  • Why As the recruitment market tightens, the forum is a chance for students and job seekers to meet and impress potential employers

Around 10,000 young professionals, students and job seekers are expected to attend a careers forum at Phnom Penh's Mondial Centre on Saturday and Sunday to look for jobs on offer from the 35 employers who have booked space at the event.

Denis Gambade, director of the Franco-Cambodian Chamber of Commerce (FCCC), which has organised the forum for the fifth consecutive year, talked to Education & Careers about careers in Cambodia and the effect of the downturn on job prospects in the Kingdom.

This is the fifth year the CCFC has organised the career forum. Why is it involved?

We organise the event because it is the interests of the FCCC's members to have access to a recruitment resource. Our role is to facilitate contact by organising a direct matching service. We also have a role to play in promoting a more mature job market.

What do you mean by a mature job market?

Many young workers tend to readily change jobs even for a $10 increase in their monthly salary. This is not to the advantage of the employee and opens companies up to the risk of seeing their employees poached. The idea is to contribute to a dialogue between candidates and employers, to explain how the job market can be improved through a better quality of education or training and through better knowledge of the business world. The students have to understand that a university education is not sufficient, that they need experience through internships or tutorial classes.

On the other side, recruiters can explain precisely what the jobs they are offering entail, what they expect from candidates and what they can offer them in return.

Why have you called it a career forum rather than a job fair?

For the time being, this is more a recruitment fair or employment fair than a career forum as few Cambodians really have a career. There is no career management from the employees, there is not this idea of how to [build their career experience step-by-step]. Instead, jobs are looked at from the perspective of social status, which is marked by two indicators of equal importance: The salary and the fame of the company. At the moment, banks are very popular, for instance. Young people are not aware of what a career is; they need time to understand.

What are the consequences of the global economic crisis on the recruitment market?

 This year, companies generally have reduced recruitment plans but of the 35 companies that will be there, only one told me frankly that it won't recruit at all.

I think that this year we won't talk about employment in terms of quantity but in terms of quality. Companies won't recruit three staff in order to do the work of one well-trained person. But if they find the right candidate, they won't let him go. Another effect of the crisis will be less turnover in the companies I think.

What is the best way for a young person to find a job?

The key is to show interest in the business world. Too few young Cambodians are interested in the companies they apply for and in their activities. The candidate must make the employer realise that they are not here by accident. It is so common for companies to meet young candidates who have no curiosity that any candidate who can stand out in this regard will surely find a job. The candidates most likely to find a job are the ones who ask about more than just the salary.

In what sectors are the most  jobs available?

The sectors of IT, telecommunications, banking  and even tourism are still recruiting but, once again, they are looking  for the right candidate.

In what sectors are there a lack of candidates?

There is a real lack in marketing. In marketing you need someone who shows creativity and initiative, which are not the strong points of Cambodians. There is also a lack of industrial designers, but the FCCC plans to launch a six-month training program, which students must pay for, with the support of the French embassy.

What is the career corner at the forum?

This is a self-assessment tool for job seekers. The first step for the candidate is to identify which career he best fits through an aptitude test. He can  then find out information about potential jobs directly from professionals who will attend to explain their work.

After that he will find help to write his CV and he will be able to take part in an interview simulation that will be hosted by the recruitment firm HR Inc.

Interview by Anne-Laure Poree 

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