Arfa Karim Tower’s ground floor that day may have been lit up with fresh talent from the market trying to take up a spot in the technology scene of Pakistan, it was disappointing to see so few technology professionals turning up and even fewer IT companies showcasing their products. In the wake of the recent Axact scandal, this exposition could have been a huge opportunity for P@SHA and PlanX to let the world know that the IT industry of Pakistan still stands strong. But there wasn’t much to be excited about at the event.
Many companies sent their HR managers to stand at the stall instead of deploying marketing and product strategists; those who really understand what the company is doing. This meant that the stall visitors were hardly able to get a fair idea of the companies’ worth and the actual technological innovation they are bringing to the market. It seemed a half-hearted attempt on part of these companies to solicit good human resource talent. It seemed more like a public relations stunt for these companies to simply show up at the exposition. There were hardly any CEOs of ICT companies with whom aspirants could interact with.
Nilofar Abbasi, the HR Officer at Systems Limited, told that almost all the job applicants at the expo were fresh graduates and they didn’t receive a CV from a working professional at all. Many students stopping by her stall were told to send their CVs on the given email address instead of submitting a print version. Ironically, many companies have made the purpose of a job fair to simply tell the applicants to apply online. Didn’t anyone tell them that they could instead offer interactive sessions, make a presentation or hold aptitude tests on the spot, instead of sitting their idly and telling everyone to apply online? There was one interesting thing though – System Ltd’s branding. I have not seen such people-centric approach of an IT company so far in Pakistan. Well, hopefully such branding is not just implemented in the design, but also in the actual philosophy as well.
Farhan Masood’s SoloInsight had the highest footfall at its exhibition, simply because it offered a demonstration of its products. Its biometric appliances kept the visitors glued, which reveals a lot about the talent the Pakistani IT industry possesses. Yes, it is not world-famous for nothing. SoloInsight is set to redefine workforce management not only in Pakistan but globally.
PlanX, the Platinum Sponsor of the event, itself solicited resumes from visitors for internship opportunities. As the leading accelerators in Pakistan, it is expected to embed an entrepreneurial mindset in its employees and further promote entrepreneurship in the country.
Another prominent IT company at the expo was Vroozi. It is a mobile procurement platform that helps companies improve their productivity by allowing them to manage their budget from a single platform and enhance their business performance resultantly. Its stall didn’t receive a lot of footfall though, maybe because it was placed at a corner spot.
OziTechnology, a big name in the mobile applications industry of Pakistan, showcased the type of games it has developed over the years, along with the various enterprise and entertainment apps that have received a lot of traction. They could have done with better branding at the stall though; the balloons didn’t make any sense. Perhaps, they could have held mini-competitions, allowing the visitors to play their games and win prizes.
But while this exposition of the IT industry was no way near the reality, it does set itself a precursor to similar events in the future that are expected to be held on a much bigger scale and attract the founders of IT companies. It is time they stop sending their footmen in, and come on the ground themselves.