Six Caymanians hired after industry outreach program
A jobs drive to match unemployed Caymanians with vacant positions in the tourism industry was met with an underwhelming response, with just six people finding work through the program to date.
It is the second time the Cayman Islands Tourism Association and the National Workforce Development Agency have combined in a focused effort to get Caymanians work in the industry.
Of the 102 people who scheduled assessment sessions with industry and human resources experts at two jobs road shows in October, only 78 showed up. Of those, 68 were deemed “work ready.”
They were matched with prospective employers, including hotels, restaurants and watersports operators, who had vacancies. But as of Jan. 7, only six had found jobs.
Ken Hydes, president of CITA, said the biggest issue was job seekers not responding or returning calls when approached by prospective employers to set up an interview.
Mr. Hydes said he is still hopeful that others will find work as a result of the program. But he acknowledged it is frustrating to see such low returns.
“Around 10 percent of the people that were found to be job ready have got jobs. It is not the most impressive return. It is the same issue, the same challenges we had last year.”
A similar industry-wide effort last year found jobs for 12 people. Mr. Hydes said the industry was doing its best to reach out to unemployed Caymanians, but was met with apathy in many cases.
Reading from a database of applicants screened in the employment drive and referred for interviews, Mr. Hydes ran through some of the reasons they had not been hired: Declined offer, wanted 9-5 position, left voicemail call not returned, left voicemail call not returned, left voicemail call not returned…
He said everyone who went through the program was asked to leave valid phone numbers and alternative numbers, and were called on several occasions before the position was offered to someone else.
He said the process had been flipped this year so that employers were required to contact the jobseeker for an interview, rather than vice versa.
In some cases, he acknowledged, candidates were rejected by employers because after an interview, they were not deemed suitable for the job. But he said the vast majority of those who had not found work through the program had either turned down opportunities or had not responded to calls.
“At the time of the jobs road show, we had in excess of 50 positions available. The feedback from the industry is that we can only do what we can do. There’s a significant number of people that haven’t shown up for interviews or haven’t been contactable.”
Putting a positive spin on the exercise, Mr. Hydes said six people who would otherwise be out of work had found jobs.
“We are going to remain positive and look at how we can build on our good relationship with the NWDA,” he added.
He said the jobs road show, which involved two screening sessions at Clifton Hunter High School and the Sir Vassell Johnson Hall, required significant buy-in and time commitment from people in the industry.
“I wouldn’t be involved in this if I didn’t think it was a thorough process,” Mr. Hydes said. “The reality is, the employers are reaching out. If the people don’t meet the criteria, I can’t expect them to hire them, especially if they are not doing their part and returning phone calls.”