How concerned is the Labour Movement on the Labour Market Report?

Labour MP Patrick Tay
Labour MP Patrick Tay
Labour MP Patrick Tay

The Ministry of Manpower released the Labour Market Report today. It tells us that there is slightly higher unemployment and less new jobs created. All this can be attributed to several issues: global economic forces and uncertainties coupled with lower oil prices and of course, local economic restructuring.

Whilst many of us are at our desks, 93.8 LIVE had an interview with Patrick Tay of the NTUC which I thought was rather interesting.

Here’s a little of what he said:
93.8: How concerned are you that job seekers now outnumber job vacancies? Is this a signal that there are declining opportunities across workers across all age groups?

Patrick: But there are more than 50k job vacancies available. (This is available) on the National Jobs Bank and there are vacancies in both PME and non-PME roles in sectors such as ICT (InfoCommTechnologies), professional services, sales and social services.

At the same time the local workforce is also shrinking – there are fewer entrants to the workforce and many of the baby boomers are now leaving the workforce. The challange is really therefore how to overcome this structural gap- how to second skill, reskill and upskill our people. How to better connect Singaporean workers to these future jobs.
93.8: Degree holders and white collar workers formed the majority of redundancies in the 2nd quarter. What efforts have been taken to help these workers reskill themselves for new jobs?

Patrick: Those above the age of 40 are more vulnerable. There are jobs available for them and tripartite partners are helping them to skill and train them to take up these new jobs via (programs such as) SkillsFuture and Adapt-And-Grow. There are also numerous sectorial programs and professional conversion programs to ensure individuals are ready with new skills, are kept relevant to new jobs and are resilient to these changes.
93.8: You mentioned those over 40s are quite vulnerable and ageism does appear to be a problem. MOM figures suggest that long term residential unemployment figures is more pronounced amongst those aged 40 and above. What are some of the causes of this?

Patrick: I feel that there is ageism in some companies when they hire – although (this is) not rampant. There are instances where some employers claim that these mature PMES used to have a larger job role, salaries and responsibilities and may not be keen on or able, or as productive if they take on something smaller or individual contributed roles.
And there are also cases where there is a mismatch of skills. Many of the new jobs created or transformed jobs need skills which they may not already have – this is where the tripartite partners are addressing to the various employment to employability programs. But I feel society as a whole needs to recognise that we have an ageing workforce and be more receptive.
—– End of Interview ——-

What’s the take away for all of us? It is really this: There are more than enough jobs for Singaporeans. 50,0000 on the Jobs Bank alone. Even more if you include unadvertised positions. But you have to be ready for it. You have to have the right skills and attitudes.

And as many a career coach would tell you – you would have to go out and network, network, network.

  1. I do not think that the ”National Jobs Bank’ portal is really effective in helping local PMEs. As far as I understand from my fellow PMEs and my own personal experierience, all our applications through the National Jobs Bank have not lead to any interviews to-date. I wonder if the 50K job vacancies listed in the Jobs Bank are genuine job vacancies or are merely posted in the Jobs Bank to satisfy regulatory requirement with a preconceived intention to recruit non-local PMEs in the 1st instance.

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