WITH four people chasing every vacancy in Southampton alone, it’s a tough job market.

Job Centre figures released yesterday reveal 370 more people joined the 5,646 already seeking work compared with the previous month.

And this does not even take into account the 760 jobs expected to vanish in the city come July, when Ford shuts its Transit plant in Swaythling and Barclays its processing office.

Across Hampshire some 16,400 are now seeking work.

But help is at hand. For the annual Daily Echo Jobs Fair is back with more exhibitors than ever before.

Daily Echo recruitment manager Tessa Reid said: “It is not all doom and gloom – there are jobs out there.

“The Jobs Fair is going to give people the opportunity to talk to a variety of companies about potential careers, apprenticeships and get a feel of what is on offer, all under one roof.”

With more than 30 employers laying out their stall, the free event at Southampton Guildhall on Thursday, March 14, aims to give jobseekers, whatever their age, background, skills or qualifications, a chance to improve their employment prospects or start a new career.

There will be seminars from employers such as Newsquest, and a chance to hone job-seeking skills thanks to the National Careers Service, which offers CV advice and techniques for the all-important interview.

Hampshire Constabulary, the Army and BSkyB will join care firms, estate agents, recruitment agencies and colleges among the many exhibitors.

Last year more 500 people came through the doors of the fair in the first hour. The fair will be open from 10am to 5pm.

The deadline for employers applying for a stand is Monday, March 4.