Thousands flock to Narva job fair as unemployment soars in Ida-Virumaa
As unemployment in Ida-Viru County in Northeast Estonia continues to climb, the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund organized a job fair in Narva yesterday which was attended by hundreds if not thousands of job-seekers.
According to the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF), up to 3,000 job-seekers attended yesterday’s job fair in Narva, and it may be time to seek a bigger venue for subsequent fairs.
ETV’s nightly news broadcast “Aktuaalne kaamera” reported that Ida-Viru County alone saw an increase of 700 unemployed persons over the last year.
“Since the beginning of the year, unemployment has increased steadily, thanks to layoffs at VKG and other companies,” said Anneki Teelahk, director of UIF’s Ida-Virumaa Department. VKG, or Viru Keemia Grupp, is one of the largest industrial enterprises in the country’s energy and chemical industries.
Teelahk went on to note, however, that last week was the first week in which the number of unemployed persons registered with the UIF had decreased. “The job market changes daily,” she explained. “A new job can come up at any moment.”
The UIF had nearly 600 jobs in Ida-Viru County to offer at yesterday’s job fair, in addition to jobs offered by businesses visiting from other parts of the country.
Despite the abundance of job-seekers, however, businesses have still faced difficulties in finding suitable applicants for various jobs. For example, those with experience in industrial jobs may not always be the best fit for customer service positions, and vice-versa. Job-seekers themselves were likewise aware of this disparity.
“There are practically no industrial job vacancies,” lamented one job-seeker. “They are primarily in sales and customer service. I have experience in a somewhat different field.”
“I got a ton of information,” rejoiced another, however. “I am going to go home and check it out, write something up, and send it out. It is difficult to find employment after 40; [employers] prefer younger people, and so there is a struggle for available positions.”
Despite the decline in unemployment in most Estonian counties, unemployment in Ida-Viru County increased to 12.4 percent in March, the highest rate in the entire country; the national average, in comparison, was just 5.1 percent.
There are currently 7,800 registered unemployed people in Ida-Viru County, of which more than half are in the northeastern city of Narva.