The virtual-reality game Second Life started as a way for people to live out fantasies with new identities and tailor-made worlds, but the impact this type of game had on the world became so much more than hosting parties with e-friends. In fact, this virtual space became one of the best ways for companies in the United States to overcome issues of diversity, cost and environmental impact in the workforce. By 2010, a tech company saved over four million dollars in event hosting costs. A car trade show was able to fulfill their green commitment by eliminating 3,300 tons of carbon emissions, saving 17,000 trees. More than 101,000 veterans were brought into the workforce since 2011, and more than 800,000 have participated in a new mode of job placement. How did Second Life make all of this possible? They may not get all the credit, but the game certainly inspired the world of Virtual Events, and we do mean the world. The Eastern side of the globe has since taken major strides in overcoming their own obstacles in the workforce through virtual event hosting. See how Eastern non-profits and government agencies are tackling the difficult issue of global unemployment through virtual events. They have generated a staggering number of new recruits by bringing marginalized groups of people into the job force. These organizations and virtual event hosting platforms have bridged the gap between how it has been and how it should be. eLiqaat – sponsored by the Saudi Arabian Government The Saudi Government is taking the world by storm through their virtual job fairs in an effort called eLiqaat. They have enabled women and citizens with disabilities to participate at higher rates than ever before. Through realistic and customizable virtual event platforms, the Saudi government has created job fairs that allow participants to submit resumes and communicate with potential employers with a format that is sensitive to cultural needs. Increasing Female Participation The Saudi Government saw a participation of thousands of females in a recent virtual event. This is a huge increase from the typical job fair environment. Although virtual events have advanced video and audio chat capabilities, the most successful communication format for women is through text chat. Recruiters are able to communicate with Saudi females who typically suffer in face-to-face job fairs, likely choosing to not attend at all. This medium caters to the 60.3% of women who are lumped into the unemployed demographic of people in Saudi Arabia. Inclusion of Citizens with Disabilities The Saudi Government puts a large emphasis on accommodating citizens with disabilities, using specific texts, images, and colors to enhance the user experience. Their virtual job fairs also provide additional interactive, real-time assistance should any feature not accommodate their needs. Not only do the features of these virtual events create better ways for marginalized groups in Saudi Arabia to participate, they allow them access to major organizations who have huge societal influence. The likes of Abdul Latif Jameel, Landmark Group, and Bank Al Jazira have all participated in this ground-breaking way to address imbalances in the workforce. eFair – sponsored by the Abu Dhabi Government Since 2013, Abu Dhabi has created an entire online job market for their community through a virtual event called e-fair; “e-Fair is the leading online recruitment exhibition in Abu Dhabi. Its designed to bring employers and job seekers together to exchange valuable information for recruitment purposes and to explore potential fits,” according to their website. eFairs has enabled women from further regions to participate in events that they would not have access to any other way. This is the first technology outreach of this kind. Experience Virtual from Anywhere, Anytime With the convenience of using any type of device (tablets, smartphones, desktop computers), job seekers have unlimited mobility for attending an event. Barriers of physical location and time restraints are no longer obstacles, as events can be attended while on the go, or between tasks. This type of mobility also enables applicants in further regions to explore their options in a new city. With over 90 companies participating in the fair, applicants have a variety of opportunities to connect. E-fair has increased diversity and widened the Abu Dhabi talent pool, but they’ve also created a cost-effective method for keeping their citizens employed. This is all part of their government’s ambitious initiative, lasting until 2030, to increase jobs. Beyond the Gulf Region: Government of Singapore Offering over 500 jobs from over 50 companies, the Singapore Workforce Development Agency has used virtual events for their “Adapt and Grow” program. The virtual job space has enabled better job matching as well as opportunities for career training. This is an invitation for applicants to share their CVs as well as enhance their skills. With integrated success metrics, organizations are able to measure their retention rates and participation numbers more accurately than in-person events. Evaluating everything from downloaded content to the number of booth visits, these key metrics have revealed that the ROI is much greater with virtual events. Foras by USAID Iraq It’s clear that virtual events and especially online career fairs allow for better mobility. In USAID Iraq’s case, they provided a solution for people who were physically incapable of navigating potentially dangerous areas. Using vivid booth designs and easy navigation to an employer of interest during four events between 2014-2015, users were virtually transported to places they would not have access to otherwise. Job seekers visiting virtual booths could explore their social media, informational documents, videos and comprehensive overviews of the company. These virtual events jumpstarted the workforce and provided the opportunity during a time where the landscape was too harsh to host these events in physical locations. All over the world, the virtual event platform has shaped the job force for the better. With greater employee skills matching, more inclusive job opportunities and the ability to overcome dangerous areas, virtual career fairs are the future of job recruitment. Your turn… Will you become part of this innovative way to connect business professionals? If you are planning an event, set up a free consultancy session where the event experts at vFairs will make sure you get the most out of the virtual experience. They’ll help your company stay fresh and current by creating the most dynamic user experience. Let them know how to help your company overcome any obstacles you face.