Seven thousand people flocked to a job fair in Wan Chai yesterday in the hope of securing work offered by mainland companies. One hundred firms are offering 760 positions and organisers say they expect up to 10,000 people to attend the fair today. Major mainland companies such as ZTE Corporation, China Eagle Securities, Mission Hills Golf Club, Chang Cheng Insurance Brokers and Guangzhou Securities are participating in the event. The vacancies were mostly in middle-management positions, but some companies had vacancies for senior managers and even chief executive officers, the organisers said. The jobless rate in Hong Kong hit 6.1 per cent during the October-December period last year, the highest level since the September-November period in 1999 when Hong Kong was struggling to recover from the Asian financial crisis. The job fair, which is being held at the Convention and Exhibition Centre and is the first of its kind to be held in Hong Kong, attracted both employed and unemployed people. Some were even prepared to take salary cuts in order to work on the mainland. A 42-year-old securities firm director who gave his name only as Pang said: 'There is very limited room for growth in Hong Kong, especially in the area I work in, whereas the mainland is developing and there are plenty of opportunities there.' Mr Pang said he planned to apply for jobs at three separate securities firms at the job fair. He had e-mailed his resume to the companies a few days before the fair. With 10 years' experience, he earns about $50,000 a month and said he would not mind taking a small salary cut if he got a good job on the mainland. Another job seeker at the fair, Michael Li, a 25-year-old sales manager with a local company, said: 'Competition is too tough in Hong Kong and the volume of work is extremely low now.' Mr Li said he was expecting a salary of between $10,000 and $19,000 a month. Paul Lam, 51, owner of a garment business, said his company had suffered badly due to poor economic conditions, and he was looking for opportunities on the mainland. He said he would be happy if he could earn between $20,000 and $30,000 a month. Lu Ruijun, director of ZTE Corporation, the largest listed telecommunications equipment manufacturer on the mainland, said salaries were still an important consideration for job seekers. He said his company was willing to lure the right candidates away from present jobs by offering them higher wages.