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Jobs for people with disabilities

By He Dan | China Daily | Updated: 2013-04-14 09:31

Fair receives overwhelming response

More than 1,000 job seekers and their families flooded a job fair for people with disabilities, held in Beijing on Saturday.

When the fair closed at 1 pm, about 145 candidates were offered interview opportunities, according to statistics released by Beijing Disabled People's Federation, one of the fair's organizers.

Those who failed to land a job interview blamed it on limited options and age discrimination.

About 60 State-run companies participated at the fair starting from 9 am at Beijing Workers' Service Center. Most of the 180 job positions offered are for low-skilled work in the service sector such as security guards and garage supervisors.

Tang Chunmei, one of the fair's organizing committee members, said a record number of more than 1,300 job hunters registered by 10:30 am.

"Most fairs we held attracted a maximum of 600 people, but the fair today was so popular that we had to stop people from coming in," she said.

One of the job seekers, Yan Shiyu, who was hoping to land an accounting-related job, said: "I arrived at about 10 am. There were so many people waiting outside that I was pushed by the crowd to go forward. My feet were stepped on many times."

"I feel a little disappointed after walking around the booths because there is no suitable position for me. I am interested in becoming an operator at a customer service center but the potential employers told me they only want those under the age of 30," said the 39-year-old.

But, she did not go home empty-handed. "Someone from the Disabled People's Federation provided a lot of useful information about the free training programs they run," she said.

Liu Jing, who was accompanied by her mother, managed to pass her resume to a potential employer before noon. The 23-year-old graphic designer said although she graduated more than two years ago, she worked from home as a freelancer as she has difficulties walking after two major cerebral palsy surgeries.

"I want to find a job related to designing but given my health conditions, I prefer to work somewhere near home and with flexible working hours," she said. "But, I know it won't be easy to find such a job."

Chinese law stipulates that employers should allocate a minimum of 1.5 percent of its jobs to people with disabilities. Those failing to reach the quota will be fined. In Beijing, the figure stands at 1.7 percent.

Ren Zhiyong, a human resource director from Beijing Urban Construction Group, said his company paid 5.8 million yuan ($936,700) for failing to meet the legal requirement. Some 150 of the group's 20,000 employees are people with disabilities.

He said being a construction company, most of the jobs available are arduous and risky compared with other industries. Thus, there are very few job applicants with disabilities.

Ren said he received five resumes for two engineering vacancies but only one candidate matched the job requirements.

Zhang Lining, an associate researcher at the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of People's Government of Beijing Municipality, another organizer of the fair, said the fair "is far from perfect" but will help to raise awareness on the need to provide jobs to people with disabilities in the long run.

"It's the first job fair dedicated to those with disabilities, therefore, we cannot satisfy every job seeker. But, most employers told me they can feel that this group of people are very keen to work and they will provide more job opportunities for them in the future," he said, adding the government will hold more similar job fairs.

In 2012, there were 400,000 people with disabilities who registered in Beijing and 55.4 percent of those of working age were employed, according to statistics from the Beijing Disabled People's Federation. The national employment rate for those with disabilities stood at 43 percent in 2012.

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