The 4th annual Yangtze River Delta Job Fair for Foreign Professionals went down on Saturday April 24.
In the preview briefing provided to HN was info that more than 200 firms would be there seeking foreign talent, and they were hoping to get 1,000 people to attend.
I asked a friend on Friday whether he'd like to go me with, he replied: "No, it won't be good, people just go for the free food."
Free food? At a job fair? I didn't understand the connection, until I went there.
After getting my 'pray to the Gods for a job' pose out of the way, I couldn't help but notice that every other person was ravenously devouring boxed lunches – on the stairs leading into the building, squatting in corners, sitting on desks, it was madness!
This shot reminded me of Great Depression pictures, the ones of hobos riding the rails and scoring a free feed wherever they could.
Inside, there were a bunch of booths set up, most of them offering teaching jobs, mainly in colleges and private language schools.
Some positions were absurd: I found one school seeking certified teachers and offering 5,000 RMB per month. I found another offering positions in Shanghai for the same money (you can't survive on that amount as an expat in Shanghai!).
Other positions were better, one school was offering certified teachers with no experience 20,000 RMB per month plus a housing allowance, with jobs in Guangzhou and Shanghai – a very comfortable option for fresh grads with the right credentials!
Most the the jobs were run-of-the-mill, however, mainly oral English teaching jobs in suburban Jiangsu areas for around 5,000 RMB per month.
Most people I asked seemed disappointed with the teaching jobs on offer, and also by the lack of non-teaching jobs. Nonetheless, most seemed happy to have come, because yes indeed, the big lure at the job fair was free food for all!
In conclusion, the 4th annual Yangtze River Delta Job Fair featured a bunch of teaching jobs offered by recruiters that seemed more interested in the food than in scoring new talent.
On my way out, I asked an older job seeker what he thought of the fair, and I think his answer sums it up perfectly: "The meatballs were very tasty."