Channel NewsAsia - Enough jobs in Singapore; Govt helping create better jobs: Lim Swee Say

There are enough jobs in Singapore and the Government is helping industries to transform their business models to create better jobs.


The Singapore Workforce

There are enough jobs in Singapore and the Government is helping industries to transform their business models to create better jobs - an assurance that came from Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say on Friday (Sep 16), following the release of employment data on Thursday that showed there were more jobseekers than vacancies.

Mr Lim said: "I want to assure Singaporeans that if you look at it from totality, there are enough jobs. Don't just look at the 49,000 job openings; in fact there are 3.3 million jobs out there in Singapore. And in fact what we are doing is, we are continuing to upgrade all the jobs.

"Just take the last 10 days, for example. We've seen the launch of two industry transformation plans, one for the F&B sector, one for the retail sector. Very soon, you are going to see another career promotion campaign for the hotel sector. In fact there are many sectors - not only do they have openings today, at the same time, they're also transforming the business model to create better jobs, better careers."

Mr Lim said the Government is also doing more to help, and it hopes to develop virtual career fairs as the main platform to match PMET (professionals, managers, executives and technicians) jobseekers with suitable jobs.

He added that such fairs are more cost-effective for employers compared to physical fairs, and can involve more employers as there are no capacity constraints.

One such virtual career fair that is being piloted by the Government will allow Singaporeans to search for jobs, attend interviews with prospective employers, as well as access career advisory services online.

Organised by the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA), the Adapt and Grow Virtual Career Fair runs from Sep 7 to Sep 21. A total of 51 employers will take part in the virtual fair and are set to offer up to 500 vacancies across sectors like infocomm technology, aerospace and biomedical sciences.

Most of the openings are for PMET positions and the median salary offered is S$4,500. Meanwhile, close to 400 live chats with employers and career coaches have been lined up for jobseekers. They can also access the latest labour market information, learn how to enhance their resumes and apply for jobs online.

Employers also found the online tools useful.  

Said Mr Vivilian William, director of Trinity Consulting Services: "Most of the roles require directly speaking with different stakeholders with technology or with the business stakeholders globally, mostly through emails ... Even when we do face-to-face interviews, we don't see their written communications. It is a very important thing - we've already shortlisted one person purely from the virtual chat."

Jobseeker Yeo Ying Yong said the virtual fair provides a convenient way to access resources. The 33-year-old quit his job as an applications consultant in August, and is now looking for a position in software development.

“(It is) just simply networking with employers. (I) saw some videos on dressing nicely for interviews which I think is beneficial,” said Mr Yeo. But he said he hopes that more resources could be made available, such as the mock technical tests administered by employers.

So far, about 2,000 jobseekers have registered for the virtual fair and around 1,000 applications have been put in.

Some of them also went for a physical Adapt and Grow Career Fair held on Friday at the Devan Nair Institute for Employment and Employability, where they could meet with more than 25 of the participating employers.

WDA Chief Executive Ng Cher Pong said: "WDA will continue to enhance our employment facilitation support for jobseekers and hiring employers through both online and offline platforms.

"We are developing a comprehensive suite of e-career services that will complement the range of programmes and services at our career centres. Our aim is to enable Singaporeans to plan for their careers and skills development, and to become career resilient."

PREPARING WORKERS FOR THE FUTURE



Meanwhile, the labour movement said it hopes to better prepare workers for the future by making information about the kind of jobs and their prospects more readily available.

NTUC Secretary-General Chan Chun Sing said: "The most difficult thing we have found in the labour movement is that, when each and every one of us has a job still, it is very difficult to encourage the person to say, be prepared for the day that we might be displaced. And therefore, before that day comes, we must go and upgrade ourselves and acquire the new skills.

“And in order for us to do that, in order for us to convince the workers to take this leap to embark on this training journey, he or she must have a clear idea on where are the openings available. Because nobody goes for training generally ... All of us would like to go for training if there's a certain clear job prospect.

“So we want to make the information available so that people can make informed choices. Otherwise this generic encouragement of people to do upgrading won't be very targeted and won't be very effective."

Mr Chan said such a system is already in place, but it needs to be strengthened and would require input from Government agencies like the Economic Development Board and SPRING Singapore, as they are the ones attracting investments into Singapore.

Mr Chan was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a dialogue session on best practices in the HR industry. The issues discussed also included the importance of training and retaining talent.

Source: Channel NewsAsia

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