— ADVERTISEMENT —
Starbulletin.com



Wednesday, May 25, 2005



art
FL MORRIS / FMORRIS@STARBULLETIN.COM
During yesterday's WorkForce 2005 job fair at the Blaisdell Center, Michelle Ranne, above, director of operations for Pleasant Holidays, talked to Isaac Woo about opportunities with the company.




Firms vie
for workers
at job fair

Low unemployment
creates competition to
fill available positions

So many employers, so few available workers.

Hawaii's tight job market prompted a record number of companies, agencies and organizations to book booths at the WorkForce 2005 job fair at Blaisdell Center.

2.9%: HAWAII'S SEASONALLY ADJUSTED JOBLESS RATE FOR APRIL
631,100: OUR LABOR FORCE IN APRIL (612,600 WORKING, 18,500 UNEMPLOYED)
30,900: NEW JOBS HERE SINCE DECEMBER 2002

"We're sold out at 175 employers," said Beth Busch, president of Success Advertising Hawaii, organizer of three job fairs each year. By comparison, 136 employers took part a year ago.

Companies that have never been represented at the job fairs purchased booths this time, such as Ross Stores, Payless ShoeSource and Ashley Furniture, she said.

Hawaii may have the nation's lowest unemployment rate at 2.9 percent, but the parking lot was still full yesterday at the job fair. About 5,100 job-seekers attended the event.

"We've had many more than that before, but that's not bad for a 2.9 market," Busch said.

The May event is traditionally staged for high school and college graduates looking for careers. But with low unemployment, "they've already been wined, dined and signed," Busch said.

She suspects that this time, as she has seen increasingly over the past few job fairs, more attendees are looking to upgrade their employment or for a second job.

Online registrations showed a high number of people with bachelor's and master's degrees among intended attendees. "Six percent of them have Ph.D.s," Busch said.

Many attendees indicated they were leaving the military, she said.

Some seekers were more traditional first-time job hunters, such as Lindsay Paikai, who is finishing Kailua High School. "I'm looking for an entry-level job," she said.




art
FL MORRIS / FMORRIS@STARBULLETIN.COM
Ginger Lum was among many people filling out job applications.




Employers have become so competitive in the search for workers that the once-highly desirable, set-for-life state job isn't the first choice anymore, said Shelley Perez, state employment recruiter.

The days are gone when folks eagerly scoured newspaper classifieds for state job openings before considering other employment, she said.

The ongoing boom in construction brought out the Associated Builders and Contractors Hawaii Chapter and member businesses looking for plumbers' apprentices, carpenters and painters. "And our association is trying to hire a part-time bookkeeper," said President Gary Wiseman.

He said it seemed as if most job fair attendees were looking to trade up positions.

"What we see is that there are people who are underemployed and who would like to move up and find a higher-paying job," Wiseman said. "That's who came by our booth, sometimes from different fields or something kind of related."

A sign recruiting serious video gamers drew the curious youthful and their parents to the Blockbuster Video booth.

The company's new Game Rush store-within-a-store concept offers games for sale, rental and trade.

Who knew the activity that leaves kids of all ages with glazed-over stares and numb okoles would be just what an employer wants?

"They are the perfect people to interact with the customers," said Chase Miyashiro, store manager at the Pearl City Blockbuster.

Who better to navigate someone through a difficult level in a game, he said.

The company, with 22 stores on Oahu, is looking for more than a dozen seasonal and permanent hires.



| | | PRINTER-FRIENDLY
E-mail to City Desk

BACK TO TOP



© Honolulu Star-Bulletin -- http://archives.starbulletin.com

— ADVERTISEMENT —
— ADVERTISEMENTS —

— ADVERTISEMENTS —