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What if recruitment can be turned upside down? What if job applicants do not send their CVs to companies but companies take some of their time to attend an event where enthusiastic international knowledge workers present their skills, work experience, and hopes for future work development? Expat Spouses Initiative (ESI) has transformed this “what-if” into an actual event aiming to build a bridge between the international talent pool in Brainport area and the companies in the region and to strengthen the connection between the two.

The second edition of ESI Live Event took place yesterday and this time the topic was technology. And this is not surprising since the Eindhoven region is all about technology. Eighteen speakers, all coming from different countries and cultures, presented their skills and experience in IT, innovation, and engineering to an audience of business representatives and companies.

All eighteen speakers are technical professionals – IT consultants, software engineers, web-developers, and mechanical engineers, to name but a few. However, they all are unemployed. Why? Because they have chosen to support their spouses in developing their careers overseas, thus, they have left their home countries and settled in the Netherlands. Coming from different places and from various technology backgrounds, both males and females pitched at the event because apart from supporting their spouses they also want to develop their own careers, as most of them put it.

Marion Havil – one of the pitchers.

“Nine out of ten knowledge workers have a highly skilled spouse – so we want to and have to think about this”, highlighted Harry de Vos, the senior Vice President of ASML – the largest international employer in the Eindhoven region. He furthered: “Eindhoven ranks 9th in the global city talent competitiveness index. We are in need to attract high tech talent!”.

Harry de Vos explaining how ASML is helping spouses.

At the same time there is an untapped pool of highly skilled international professionals in the field of technology in the Eindhoven region, Kavitha Varathan, the CEO of ESI, explained. “Only in our network there are more than 1000 internationals and they are mainly with background in technology – IT, engineering, innovation. 97% of them have a university degree, 42% have a Master’s degree, and 11% – PhD.”

ESI is transforming a problem into an opportunity. “At present there are spouses who are top international talents walking in the streets of Eindhoven – imagine what potential companies will have by recruiting them!”, Varathan highlighted. With ESI Live event the team of ESI provides a meeting point between internationals and employers. “We enable both sides to get the human interaction and to get to know one another. We want to get companies engage with internationals,” she enthused.

“What can spouses do? Be proactive – do courses, volunteer, make your presence known!”

From the point of view of the companies, De Vos, who is Global Head of HR of ASML, shared how this gap between the companies and the international talents can be overcome. “What can companies and SMEs do? They can hire spouses of their employees internally or within associated organizations, they can provide career counselling and information about starting small enterprises. What can spouses do? Be proactive – do courses, volunteer, do studies at the Open University, make their presence known!”, De Vos accentuated. “If we cannot find you, you should find us!”.

ESI Live Tech presented the candidates not only with the opportunity for a pitch but also with a discussion based on the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) method where the candidates had a chance for a talk with possible employers.

Discussion based on the STAR method. Photo: credit by Van Tran.

“Yes, I see some very nice opportunities here”, shared Ranjani Ramasubramanian – a woman from India who has experience in web development and testing.

Varathan closed the ESI Live Tech event, smiling: “Thank you, everyone, for being here today – you are pioneers in the way you look at internationals and rectruitment.”