Beside, the participating companies also hire job holders for working in their stalls, as the number of students they manage to hire is not adequate to run their stalls in the fair
Most of the temporary workers recruited to work as sales executives in the pavilions and other stalls at Dhaka International Trade Fair (DITF) are students as the fair offers them the best part-time employment and learning opportunity in the country every year.
Beside, the participating companies also hire job holders for working in their stalls, as the number of students they manage to hire is not adequate to run their stalls in the fair.
“Each year I work as a sales executive in the fare for different companies. As the university remains closed in January, the fair gives me an opportunity for earning,” said Abu Sayed. A student of accounting, Abu Sayed works as a sales executive for RFL, a sister concern of Pran group, in the fair.
This correspondent talked to several other student workers who said most of the employers provided them with transport allowances and meal beside remuneration.
Most of the sales executives are students
According to the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB), around 3,000 individuals are working in the DITF as sales executives and most of them are students.
ASM Sayem, deputy manager (human resource) of RFL, said the company recruited 300 new employees to work at the fair in the pavilion of its sister concerns — Italiano, DPL, Best Buy, Easy Build, Vision and Regal. All of these new recruits are students, 80 being female.
Among the 250 staff working in two pavilions of Walton and one pavilion of Marcel, a sister company of Walton, 40 are newly recruited temporary female sales executive with no new male recruit.
At the fair, 300 temporary workers are working as sales executives in 13 pavilions of Parn Group; 240 of these temporary workers are students. Bengal Group has recruited 63 temporary student workers to work in their stalls at the fair, 24 of them being female workers.
“Students are enthusiastic, active, able to give enough time to work, and possess good communication skills. So, we prefer to recruit students as sales executives to work in our pavilions,” said Shafiqul Alam, a pavilion manager of Walton.
Companies offer good salary and other benefits
Most of the companies are offering handsome remunerations to the temporary workers at the DITF along with incentives and other facilities. The amount being paid to the temporary workers is between Tk15,000 to 40,000.
Temporary employees recruited by Walton for the fair get around Tk40,000. Walton’s 150 permanent staff also earn around additional Tk60,000 to Tk70,000 on the fairground in addition to their regular salary.
“We pay the highest to the temporary worker in the fair. We also provide Breakfast, lunch, snakes, dinner and transport,” Said Shafiqul Alam, a manger at a Walton pavilion.
“The fair offers really a great opportunity for the students to earn money as part time workers. They also gather experience through this temporary job,” he said.
Ruhul Imteaz, in-charge of one of the RFL’s pavilions, said: "55 new and temporary employees are working as sales executive in RFL’s pavilions at the fair."
“As a monthly salary package, temporary workers are being paid between Tk19,750 and Tk20,500. We will give them performance bonus as well based on their weekly sales volume," he said, adding that the company also provides accommodation for the male temporary staff as well as giving best seller award.
Low-income job holders working at the DITF
Not only students, but also the job holders with low income work in the month-long fair.
Sharmin Mukta, a restaurant manager, is now working as sales executive at the DITF for Savoy ice cream.
“I took two months leave from my office to work in the fair. I get Tk20,000 per month as a restaurant manager, but in the fair I can easily earn Tk30,000,” she said.
The recruitment process
Companies recruit the temporary workers, either directly through a circular or through other event management companies.
Al Mamun, presently working for Savoy as the company’s event manager, said: “Through my personal event organization, I collect students from different regions to work at the DITF. In this case, establishing an extensive network is the key factor in recruitment.”
“Sometimes I use my network for collecting students for campaigning, to work in other fair or for working as volunteers during Ramadan. Every year I recruit students for DITF, for the fair offers them with the best temporary jobs. Most of the students have been working over the last five years at the fair for different companies,” he added.
“The trade fair offers not only a great employment opportunity each year, but also make experienced workers who later can get better job with this experience. This is one of the contribution of the event to the economy.” said Abdul Halim, assistant director at the EPB.
According to the EPB, 21 countries, including Bangladesh, are participating in this year’s trade fair with 483 stalls. The stalls include 112 pavilions, 128 mini pavilions and 243 different categories of stalls.