A Working Summer Starts at City’s Forum

A Working Summer Starts at City’s Forum

Published: June 17, 2011 (Issue # 1661)

Alexander Belenky / The St. Petersburg Times

Students Anastasia Zakharova (l) and Yulia Iskakova (r) prepare to help journalists working in the press center on Thursday.

Working at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) is just the beginning of a range of temporary vacancies for those seeking summer jobs, but recruitment professionals advise job hunters to insist on a contract before getting down to work.

The forum’s organizers recruit temporary staff both to prepare for the event, and during the three days of the forum itself to help deal with the large number of participants attending the forum and ensure that the event runs smoothly.

“We receive about 1,000 applications to work at the forum,” said Yana Gordeyeva, head of the temporary staff project at the SPIEF. “This year, we have about 700 people working at the forum. These are people who have completed a training course that began in the spring, and then passed an exam in the taught material.”

“As a rule, they are students of major universities and institutes of St. Petersburg who have a good knowledge of foreign languages, are well-educated, active, responsible and who care about St. Petersburg,” she said.

“Work at the forum is paid,” she added.

“In general, administrative staff are required,” said Maria Margulis, general director of the 1000 Kadrov agency. “These are delegate managers, people who meet and register guests, staff on the forum’s information desks and guides for the cultural program.”

“As well as specialists to coordinate management functions, drivers and translators are also needed,” said Svetlana Yakovleva, head of Ancor recruitment agency for northwest Russia.

Typically, those involved in working at the forum are young, and often students. One of the main qualifications in demand is knowledge of at least one foreign language, particularly English.

“Students applying for a temporary job at the economic forum should also possess excellent communication skills, good speech, and be polite and client-orientated,” said Margulis.

Additional staff are required not only at the forum itself, but also at companies whose work is related to the forum. For example, Eclectic Translations, which is responsible for the translation of speeches made by forum participants during the event, hires more staff during this period.

Alexander Belenky / The St. Petersburg Times

All the speeches made at the forum have to be translated for participants.

“We work on the translations during the month following the forum. For this period of time, we increase our staff of four by up to 40 freelancers,” said William Hackett-Jones, one of the shareholders of Eclectic Translations.

“There are strict requirements for the employees hired for the forum translations. They should be native speakers and specialists in a certain field,” he said.

It is not only the forum that offers additional jobs. The summer is the holiday season, and temporary staff are in demand to cover staff on vacation.

“When the company can’t afford to stop or slow down, it has to recruit additional temporary personnel,” said Yakovleva. “The summertime is a hot season in many retail and manufacturing companies, as the volume of production work increases. The same is true of hotels and tourist agencies,” she said.

Margulis cited increased sales of seasonal products such as drinks and ice-cream as another factor in the need for temporary staff. “Seasonal sales in the stores also often require additional staff,” she added.

Most summer vacancies are for manufacturing and industrial staff, retail personnel, service staff such as waiters and maids, and administrative staff such as receptionists and secretaries. The most active group of summer jobseekers is students, but they are not alone.

“We also encounter jobseekers who due to various reasons do not a permanent job — for example, mothers with small children who cannot have a full-time job,” said Margulis.

HR agencies warn people to exercise caution when selecting a summer job, and to always make sure they have a contract specifying the salary.

“There should always be a contract,” said Margulis. “The employee should know the conditions, and how and when they will be paid for the work.”

Without a contract, the employee risks being left unpaid.

“Without a contract, and with payment in the form of cash in an envelope, temporary employees are in a weak position, as there is nothing to guarantee their rights and interests,” said Margulis.

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