Nearly 3,000 workers needed for London and area businesses

It’s the personal touch that drew Michael Chambon to the job fair.

It’s the personal touch that draws Michael Chambon to the job fair.

Like nearly 3,000 other job seekers in London and region, Chambon, an engineer from France, will line up Tuesday at the London and area job fair where more than 80 businesses are hiring.

“It is difficult to look for work when you are dealing with a website and computers, not humans, are looking at your resume,” said Chambon, who is from France, and moved to London where his wife works at the Robarts Research Institute.

A job fair offers “a personal touch” where job seekers can be seen and meet face-to-face with prospective employers, he said.

The job fair, at the Agriplex building at Western Fair, is needed as the city and area has seen strong economic growth and is enjoying a “hiring boon,” said Debra Mountenay, executive director of the Elgin Middlesex Oxford Workforce Planning and Development Board.

“We are seeing employers looking for people. It is a good business environment. We have had a lot of expansion and upgrades,” said Mountenay.

“It is a good time, currently, for job seekers. There are a lot of options out there.”

The numbers back her up. The city is boasting its lowest unemployment rate in 14 years, at 5.2 per cent, and Manpower Services recently forecast 13 per cent of all London businesses will be hiring this year.

The Conference Board of Canada also predicted a nearly two-per-cent growth in the city’s gross domestic product (GDP), the value of all goods and services produced here, this year and next, following annual GDP increases since the 2008-2009 economic downturn.

“This highlights the importance of workforce development in economic development. The economy has bounced back from the (2008) recession. We know employers are expanding, growing, adding technology, and this is driving a demand for workers,” said Kapil Lakhotia, chief executive of the London Economic Development Corp.

“If you look at the major trends, building, manufacturing and employment are all up, and all these grow the economy. The demand drivers are there.”

The LEDC organized the job fair and Lakhotia expects more than 3,000 job seekers, with about 2,800 jobs posted, he said.

Some of the businesses attending includeTD,, Cargill, Autodata Solutions, Armo Tool and regional manufacturers such as Takumi in St. Thomas, and Toyota Boshokuand Vuteqin Woodstock.

Digital Extremes, a London gaming company, islooking for about 25 workers including a “weapons artist” and a job fair is ideal for helping fill those offbeat, unusual positions, said Heidi Flynn, human resources director.

“It’s more about the awareness of the positions when you are looking for a very specialized role. We won’t find it at a job fair, but it will build awareness, word of mouth, and that will help us find amazing candidates,” said Flynn of the power of the fair.

Digital Extremes, located at CitiPlaza downtown, now has about 300 staff and is seeing “explosive” growth thanks to Warframe, its third-person shooter game that has proven very popular since its 2013 launch, she said.

“It is the most success we have had, year over year,” said Flynn

The job fair also will host 16 employment agencies that help people find jobs.

London and Area Works Job Fair

2,800 positions open

More than 80 businesses looking

Agriplex building, Western Fair

Tuesday, 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Jobs London Economic Development Corp.
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