Job Fair Adds Value to Show

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Christopher Levey Looking to increase attendance, Norwalk, Conn.-based Reed Exhibitions added a career fair to its pharmaceutical trade show an event that pulled in six figures in show revenues.

The 2001 Interphex Career Expo originally was designed to be a one-time event. Operated by Shomex, a Santa Monica, Calif.-based event production company that specializes in job fairs, it was co-located with Reed’s Interphex show at the Jacob K. Javits Center in New York City. The career fair surprised all by drawing a crowd of 3,000 attendees, two-thirds of whom were new to Interphex.

The event’s resounding success prompted Reed to form permanent ties between the career expo and Interphex, which was renamed the International Pharmaceutical Industry Congress in January. The 2002 show, to be held April 15-17, is expected to draw 15,000 attendees and more than 800 exhibitors.

Cristopher Levy, vice president of marketing for Shomex, said the move made sense, as the pharmaceutical industry was widely considered recession-proof and had become a magnet for job-seekers. “We saw the need and believed [vendors] would benefit from the access to potential employees,” he said.

Reed executives felt likewise. “Shomex came to us with what they were doing, and we thought it was a good fit,” said Kevin Richards, vice president of Reed’s pharmaceutical and biotechnology group. “One of Reed’s strategic objectives is to build career fairs into shows to generate new revenues and opportunities for delegates.”

The 2002 Interphex Career Expo will have between 30 and 40 exhibiting employers, said Levy, a 50 percent jump over last year. “We hope eventually to build it up to about 50 exhibitors,” he said. The job fair turned a profit its first year out, said Levy. Although most of the expo’s revenue came from booth sales, Shomex also solicited sponsorships and brochure advertising to increase profits. “It expands our future buyers, because a lot of the career expo attendees are students,” said Richards. Since they already take the time to network with prospective employers, it was a “no-brainer” to offer them free admission to the show to meet vendors, he said.

Everyone wins, said Levy, adding, “Employers get to see a captive audience, and the show generates new attendees.”


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