SINGAPORE — While the Singapore government will “spare no effort” to open up new pathways for jobseekers, Manpower Minister Josephine Teo has urged them to keep an open mind, and stay open to pathways that they would not have considered previously.
“Give the employers a chance, and give yourself a chance,” she said in her Budget debate speech in Parliament on Thursday (4 June), as she laid out the government’s plans to gear up the job market amid the downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The government has laid out its ambition to generate close to 100,000 opportunities in jobs, traineeships, attachments and skills training through the SGUnited Jobs and Skills package.
The recently-formed National Jobs Council (NJC), led by Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, will be rallying and mobilising every possible partner to build up a pipeline of such opportunities, catering to multiple sectors and every skill level.
Roadblocks, mismatches in securing preferred jobs
However, there are many roadblocks and “mismatches” to jobseekers securing their preferred jobs in this current climate, said Teo.
“Workforce Singapore (WSG) and its partners like e2i and MAS placed an average of 29,000 locals into jobs every year in the last three years. Each of these involves painstaking work. In many cases, there are job-and skills mismatches. In others, there are mismatches of wage expectations,” she said.
“In today’s context, we must add another significant mismatch and it has to do with timing. Many jobseekers will be hungry for work and school leavers eager to start their careers. But employers will be hesitant and not ready to hire. After all, they themselves may not have enough visibility about their own business. As a result, there will likely be many more jobseekers than jobs available.”
Satellite career centres to be in all HDB towns
To help jobseekers find the most suitable pathway, WSG’s ground presence will be extended via satellite career centres to be set up in all 24 HDB towns, said Teo.
Currently, there are five career centres islandwide, along with partnerships with NTUC’s e2i, Social Service Offices, Community Development Councils and self-help groups such as Mendaki.
WSG has also built up its range of digital services on MyCareersFuture.sg, such as a series of Virtual Career Fairs for various industry sectors. This will be brought to SGUnited traineeships as well.
The government will also encourage employers via meaningful funding support to offer traineeship or attachment pathways, to provide valuable industry-relevant experience for jobseekers to better position themselves when the economy recovers.
More than 1,000 organisations, including many small and medium enterprises (SMEs), have already stepped forward to offer to host more than 11,000 trainees, said Teo.
There will have to be a big push for pathways for retrenched and mid-career persons from all sectors; pathways for fresh graduates from Institute of Technical Education, polytechnics, universities and other educational institutions; and pathways for self-employed persons,” she said in Parliament.
“Ideally, the pathways should lead to a job. In today’s context, it may not be an immediate job, or a permanent one, but it should be a path that allows for people to use their time meaningfully, learn something useful and gain valuable experience.”
Three reasons to be hopeful for future: Teo
Teo cited three reasons for Singapore jobseekers to be hopeful for the future. Firstly, Singapore has invested heavily to build a vibrant Continuing Education and Training ecosystem that provides quality training to working adults.
Secondly, the government has developed Industry Transformation Maps for several years, and has carefully positioned each sector for future growth. This makes for effective curation of training and attachment pathways.
Finally, Teo cited Singapore’s tripartism as an advantage for the country to work together to push for creating career pathways for jobseekers.
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