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Expat education and culture job fair fails to attract crowds

THE current global financial crisis hasn't blunted the city's demand for foreign culture and education professionals, but it seems it has soured the enthusiasm of job seekers.

Only just over 200 foreign job seekers showed up at the 2009 Yangtze River Delta Region job fair for foreign culture and educational experts, an annual recruitment event for expats held in the city yesterday.

The number fell far short of the fair organizers' expectation of more than 600 attendees, where nearly 500 teaching and training openings were on offer.

"Maybe it's because not many people want to change jobs in this environment," said Huang Weimao, an official with the Shanghai Human Resources and Social Security Bureau. "People tend to hang on to their current positions rather than pursuing higher-paid options."

The fair gathered more than 60 colleges, elementary schools and other education institutions from Shanghai and neighboring Jiangsu and Zhe°?jiang provinces for on-site interviews.

Despite the grim job market imposed by the financial crisis, organizers said both the number of recruiters and positions offered were about the same level as the two previous fairs. The event began in 2007.

Some recruiters, however, were optimistic about the possible impact of the downturn.

"Some excellent foreign cultural and educational experts have been sent overseas from their home countries because of the global financial crisis and they may decide to shift to Shanghai to develop their careers," said Zhang Yun, an official with Shanghai International Studies University.

Pan Tao, another university recruiter, told Shanghai Daily that foreign teachers would be paid the same salary as before the downturn - from 15,000 yuan (US$2,197) to 30,000 yuan a month.

However, recruiters were greeted by few visitors. For most of the time, they were left sitting idle or chatting to each other.

One of the job seekers who did visit the fair, Reecha Goyal from India, said she wants a new job that is more stable in Shanghai. A bank clerk, she has been in the city for three months with her family.


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