A provision in the new Immigration Transitions Law adopted by the Cayman Islands Legislative Assembly this past week is as significant for ensuring that Caymanians get priority for to available jobs as it is for the local economy.
It reads: (2B) A prospective employer, in addition to registering an application under subsection (2), may also at the same time as registration advertise the vacancy in a local newspaper or other prescribed media.”
The question is; why ‘may’?
Leaving this option as a matter of choice defeats the purpose of the objective the government is trying to achieve, which is ultimately to ensure that Caymanians get a first and fair shot at available jobs.
Using all available media, print, broadcast and online (in addition to the revamped Jobs Cayman portal) is vital to meet this goal.
Repeatedly in the meetings of the Legislative Assembly debating separately the Immigration Transition and the Pensions Amendment laws, the issue of priority hiring and job security for Caymanians was highlighted.
The issue even dominated the debate of the immigration legislation meant to relax work-permit and residency requirements for non-nationals.
If Caymanians are to truly compete to get these jobs, they must first know that these jobs are available, and all tried and proven avenues must be utilised.
The demands of the economy require sourcing staff from overseas to meet demand - reproductive rates will take generations to fill the void if the economy recovers to its recent growth levels.
In the interim, the downturn caused by the COVID-19 crisis is already seeing an impact in the labour market, especially the tourism and related sectors.
Unemployment rates of around 10% a few years ago have been cut by more than half that in recent times, a feather in the cap of the Alden McLaughlin administration.
The unavoidable COVID-19-caused uptick in unemployment will call for even more innovative actions by the government.
The Jobs Cayman portal is a vital tool in the arsenal to track trends in the labour market.
The requirement for businesses and job-seekers to register is commendable, as is requiring Caymanians to have first access to jobs advertised locally for a 14-day period.
Equally commendable is requiring companies to inform Cayman nationals why they were successful in getting the jib the applied for.
(The government could have also built a succession-planning component into the framework).
However, while registering on the portal does have its values - data capture to monitor and respond to trends being among them - failing to maximise the visibility of available jobs to the local community via the print media, is a missed opportunity.
Let’s face it; not everyone is online.
The current situation in some metropoles is instructive where moving education online because of the lockdown is meeting with challenges hitherto overlooked.
Not everyone is online, can afford to be online... and some don't even want to be online for a variety of reasons.
Case in point; some schools even in capitals such as London struggling with online classes because some homes are not technologically ‘linked-up’ as they find it financially unaffordable.
In this respect bringing job vacancies to the attention of all Caymanian job seekers requires a 'by all means necessary' approach.
Especially in the present circumstances, the media particularly the print media is an asset.
The presumed immediacy of the internet is hampered by a major hurdle; you must be online. Recently, it’s been found that in many surprising situations that’s actually easier said than done.
That’s why newspapers which were previously felt to be the first victims of the explosion of the internet, still survive.
Many have adapted their business model and have incorporated an online presence - a veritable two for the price of one.
The major global, national and local titles continue to print, are still reaching a core readership, and continue to be the preferred choice of readers across all demographic groups.
In the case of advertising jobs - and other products and services - omit the print media and you risk missing a large percentage of the people you are trying to reach - and help.
In this case, those are the resident Caymanians seeking out job opportunities in their local market across all sectors, skill and qualification levels.
Print is accessible, arguably more portable in many respects, and definitely more affordable to its readers and clients.
27 Jan, 2020
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