Innovative Diversity Recruitment Fairs in Italy

As Italy currently hold the EU Presidency, it is worth looking at a success model which was developed there over year. DiversitaLavoro offers several innovative features in the large landscape of diversity recruitment fairs. That the events focuses on foreign nationals, disabled and transgendered people is just of the unusual aspects.

“We are looking for talents to offer equal opportunities in the world of work” was the motto of the first edition of DiversitaLavoro (Diversity at work) in 2007. What it meant was less obvious at the time: Inviting candidates, most with a diverse background, knowing that companies had concrete job offers for these applicants from foreign origins, with a disability or being transgendered. This was a prerequisite for the firms to be able to participate. The event draw the attention of hundreds of people from all over Italy and beyond, striving to show their talent and characteristics. The media success and the effectiveness of the tool, propelled by the promoters (UNAR, Sodalitas, Synesis and Adecco Foundation for equal opportunities) eventually led to a success story that still continues to grow.

In November 2014, under the Italian EU Presidency, a series of events will take place, including a new edition of the DiversitaLavoro career forum in Rome. Since its start, fourteen events have already taken place in many other cities including Milan, Naples or Catania, and Padua will be added in 2015. In 2013, more than 1,000 selected candidates participated in four events in which more than 40 companies were involved, conducting more than 16,000 face-to-face interviews. The candidates on these events were mostly graduates (71%), many with a business degree (23%); 6% of them found a job as a result of their participation in DiversitaLavoro.

Each Career Forum has a number of special features, including training sessions, pre-selection and a focus on matching skills needed and offered. The main aim of the event is to get disabled candidates, candidates from foreign nationalities or transgendered/transsexual candidates in front of HR staff. Prior to the event, the project partners offer briefings for HR experts involved in search, selection and recruitment to discuss specifics around the integration of people with a disability, foreigners or LGBT candidates. On the day of the event, the attending candidates are offered support and advice how to excel in a job interviews or how to improve their CV.

The format of the event has in the meantime been repeated in Sweden. Arbetsförmedlingen, the largest public labour agency, organised the Project National Matching event in Stockholm, focusing on immigrants with a high education level in engineering – after having participated in the 2013 Milan forum. The Swedish event had 33 companies attending and welcomed 550 highly skilled candidates. “The feedback is overwhelming”, said Marco Buemi from UNAR (Italy) who had co-designed the Italian event and represented DiversitaLavoro in Stockholm. “We are reaching our goal to place highly skilled professionals in their fields despite their foreign degree is not fully valued”, he concludes.  In order to motitivate companies further on their way to recruit Diversity, an additional Diversity & Inclusion Award in the context of DiversitaLavoro was started in Italy in 2012.