More than 900 seek jobs

According to records provided by the Department of Employment Relations, 905 unemployed Caymanians and permanent residents were seeking jobs as of late March via registration with the department.

Employment relations officials pointed out that there may be more than 905 jobless people in the Islands and that their numbers only reflect the people who have registered with DER.

‘The DER cannot absolutely ascertain that all unemployed people are registered with the department,’ a statement from the DER read. ‘It is not possible for us to say at this time what percentage of the unemployed people are registered with us.’

The data on unemployment records was accessed through a Freedom of Information request made by the Caymanian Compass.

According to the DER’s records, 714 Caymanians have registered with the organisation to seek jobs as of 23 March, along with 106 spouses of Caymanians and 85 permanent residents. The majority of job-seekers, 519, were females.

A full two-thirds of those unemployed individuals reported having an education level of ‘high school diploma’ or less. Fewer than 100 people seeking jobs through the DER had attained a four-year college degree or more.

Employment relations officials have made substantial progress in matching qualified job-seekers with available positions over the past two years.

Statistics provided by the DER showed that 398 people had been put in jobs since April 2007, since the introduction of a new computerised system that aids in the employment search.

A large number of those placements have occurred in three general industries; hospitality (76 placements), retail (36 placements) and construction (28 placements).

‘Of these placements, most are in the unskilled to skilled categories,’ the DER report stated. The Cayman Islands puts most jobs in three categories; unskilled, skilled and professional.

The Department of Employment Relations does not currently have a way of tracking how long successfully placed candidates stay in jobs simply because it does not have the resources to keep track of each person it places.

‘Clients do not always inform the DER when they have quit a placement,’ the report stated. ‘However, if it becomes apparent that a client is having difficulty remaining employed our job placement officers are on hand to offer assistance.’

Of those who are registered with employment relations and have either part-time or full time jobs, 568 are Caymanians, 71 are married to Caymanians and 87 are permanent residents.

Employers in Cayman have previously groused about the performance of some individuals who are placed in jobs through the Department of Employment relations.

At a January meeting of the Cayman Islands Tourism Association, a few employers who were using the DER placement system said some job-seekers proved ineffective or lazy after being placed in those positions.

‘The biggest problem I’m having is their enthusiasm,’ said Iris Kehler, who represented KFC at the meeting. ‘They’re just not interested.’

Another employer said he had hired about nine DER-recommended employees and that none had worked out.

Employment Relations Director Lonny Tibbetts said the DER simply functions as a job placement service and does not act as a quality control agency.

To be registered with the DER, job-seekers must file paperwork and complete an interview with a job placement officer. Information gleaned from that process is used to match a job-seeker with a suitable position, if any exist. If a match is made, information about the candidate is sent to prospective employers.

The department’s goal is to place 15 people in positions each month.