Hopes, Fears & Disappointments: Stories of Delhi Job Fair 2017
47,000 people appeared for the job fair at on 7 & 8 November, a Delhi Govt press release said.
47,000 people appeared for the job fair at on 7 & 8 November, a Delhi Govt press release said.(Photo: Vishnu Gopinath)

Hopes, Fears & Disappointments: Stories of Delhi Job Fair 2017

As of 8 November 2017, 5.52 percent of India is unemployed. In a country with a population of 1 billion, this is not a small number.

The Delhi government held the second edition of the Delhi Job Fair on 7 and 8 November to try to provide jobs, and reduce the unemployment rate.

A press release from the Delhi government claimed that over 25,000 candidates were shortlisted at the end of the fair, with 8,288 candidates being offered jobs on the spot.

Over 25,000 candidates were reportedly shortlisted over the course of the two-day fair.
Over 25,000 candidates were reportedly shortlisted over the course of the two-day fair.
(Photo: The Quint/Vishnu Gopinath)
Around 11,000 to 13,000 persons will get jobs through the fair. We follow up with the companies to know how many they hired. We also follow up after three months to see whether the employees are still working at the organisation.
Seema Joshi, assistant to Delhi Labour, Employment and Development Minister Gopal Rai

From freshers to couples, from people who had only passed the 12th standard to the former vice president of a real estate firm (who insisted he remain anonymous), the two days of the job fair saw over 47,000 faces pass through the Thyagaraja Stadium in Delhi, each with their own tale to tell.

'We're Here to Find Part-Time Work'

Rinku, one of thousands of freshers at the fair.
Rinku, one of thousands of freshers at the fair.
(Photo: The Quint/Vishnu Gopinath)

Rinku is pursuing a B Tech correspondence course. All of 20, Rinku is one of thousands of young faces at the fair. He says his family is well to do, so he has no pressure to start earning immediately. However, he wants to help ease his family’s financial situation.

Plus, he has a lot of free time, and the job fair gives him, a fresher, a feeling of what to expect from the “real world,” he said.

Rinku applied to a few organisations, mostly looking for part-time work. He’s at the beginning of his professional life, and the fair offers him a taste of what to expect. His first foray into “real life”seemed to have left him a little disappointed. He says that since he’s still in college, most of the positions available to him were in BPOs or call centres.

'They Want Overqualified People for Underpaying Jobs'

Ram and Sonal, with their daughter Vani.
Ram and Sonal, with their daughter Vani.
(Photo: The Quint/Vishnu Gopinath)

Ram works at Royal Enfield as an assistant sales executive. His wife, Sonal, a BA graduate, used to teach physics at a school. She stopped working after their daughter, Vani, was born.

Sonal now wants to start working again. The couple was at the job fair searching for opportunities for Sonal. However, the companies looking to hire want people who are overqualified for the positions they offer, they say.

The same positions outside the job fair would have simpler requirements as far as qualifications and work experience are concerned, the couple added.

'What About People Older Than 40? They Don't Pay Enough to Support a Family'

Surendra Gehlot, 44, says those older than 40 have no opportunities at the job mela.
Surendra Gehlot, 44, says those older than 40 have no opportunities at the job mela.
(Photo: The Quint/Vishnu Gopinath)

Surendra Singh Gehlot is no fresher. He, in fact, falls on the other end of the spectrum. He is 44 and has 20 years of experience as a duty officer in aviation ramp operations. He was unemployed for a year-and-a-half after the private aviation agency he worked for shut shop.

I used to work for Cambata Aviation Private Limited. After they closed down, I applied to other airlines, but nothing materialised. I tried different jobs. The companies here offer only bare minimum salary prescribed by industry standards. I’m not looking for work here, but people who do find a job from here, usually have to take a cut in their salary.
Surendra Singh Gehlot

Not one company at the fair would even consider an application from him, simply because he is 44, Gehlot claimed. There’s not one position in the list of over 11,000 jobs that is aimed for candidates above 40 years of age; the upper age limit specified at the job fair is 40.

Gehlot has two children – a son and a daughter. He says he’s fortunate to live in a joint family where the financial burden is lighter on him. His son hopes to be a journalist, and is studying mass communication at the NRAI School of Mass Communication in Delhi.

Seema Joshi, the spokesperson for the Delhi govt, says that exceptions are made at times for those older than 40, but these usually happen after the fair ends, between the person applying and the company.

'I Want to Be a Historian. I'll Even Take a Cut in My Salary'

Sagar, 23, wants to be a historian.
Sagar, 23, wants to be a historian.
(Photo: The Quint/Vishnu Gopinath)

Sagar shows the ‘Jio’ T-shirt under his jacket. He works as a marketing manager at a Reliance Jio store. He has been working since he was 19. But, the job fair offers him a new beginning. He says he’s sick of the anger and the stress that’s a part of his job.

He loves history. He wants to be a historian.

While many people at the fair are looking for better paying jobs or a means to support their families, for 23-year-old Sagar this is a fresh start. He is following his heart.

I don’t like the stress and the tension. I love history. It’s my passion. I love reading about tombs, maqbaras, and domes. I was always good at history in school also. I think I have a chance to get the job.

For Sagar this isn’t just a new job, it’s something he’s always wanted to become. It’s a chance to change his life.

‘After A Year, I’ve Been Shortlisted Now’

Devraj received a call for an interview on 8 November.
Devraj received a call for an interview on 8 November.
(Photo: The Quint/Vishnu Gopinath)

Twenty-six-year old Devraj Bisht is the youngest of six children. He moved from Uttarakhand to Delhi University for post graduation. He completed his MA a year ago, but couldn’t find work. His siblings – four sisters – are doctors.

Bisht’s older brother died two years ago. He says he’s still hoping to see the man who took his brother’s life face punishment. Bisht is one of the 25,000 candidates who were shortlisted at the fair. He received a call for a job at a restaurant.

Also Read: Job Creation? How About Filling Over 20 Lakh Vacant Govt Posts?

'The Jobs They Promised Are Not Available. We're a Little Disappointed'

Ajay registered online for a position in data entry. He says there were none when he arrived at the job fair.
Ajay registered online for a position in data entry. He says there were none when he arrived at the job fair.
(Photo: The Quint/Vishnu Gopinath)

Ajay, 26, lost his job at McDonald’s when the franchise closed down over 40 of its outlets two months ago. Over the past 2 months, he applied at many companies including the Cafe Coffee Day and Barista outlets near his home in Dwarka.

He registered online with the hopes for a job in data entry. When he came to the job fair, however, he couldn’t find any positions in data entry that he could apply for.

Nonetheless, he has applied for other positions. He says that he’s optimistic, but he will keep looking for jobs elsewhere as well.

Also Read: Modi Govt at Three Years: Unemployment Rates Are Now Slightly Up

'My Brother Wants to Move Here From J&K. I'm Trying to Find Jobs for Him'

Ahmed, 26, was applying for jobs for his 18-year-old brother.
Ahmed, 26, was applying for jobs for his 18-year-old brother.
(Photo: Vishnu Gopinath)

Twenty-six-year-old Ahmed Ali is pursuing his SSE right now. His brother, Salman, is 18, and lives in Kargil, Jammu & Kashmir. Ahmed says he’ll only start working a year later, but he wants to find jobs for Salman. Salman is still in school, and will graduate soon.

Ahmed says he wants Salman to leave the Valley because there aren’t many opportunities there. He tells me that Salman wants to be a journalist. Ahmed looks distraught as he goes through the positions for freshers. After a few moments of conversation, he asks me whether I can get his brother a job at my organisation.

Jobs For All, But Not If You’re Picky

For graduates without a job, and those fresh out of school looking for employment, the fair had a few entry-level options.

The organisers admitted that hiring for senior management positions takes more time than the two days of the fair. They added that a number of people at the fair were those who lost their jobs to demonetisation.

The fair offered very few options for older people, with most of the companies saying that they were looking for people in the 20-25 age bracket. A number of people in their forties, and even their late fifties, at the fair, said they would contact some of the companies later to apply for senior positions. But, at the fair itself, they seemed to have little faith that they would find anything substantial.

Also Read: Less Than 1% of Those Registered in Employment Exchanges Get Jobs

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