Is Singapore still a good place to live and work in? That is the question many Singaporeans have been asking ourselves.
Here are 7 problems we’re pissed off about, and surely got more, but let’s start with these first.
1. Do we have enough money to retire?
With financial commitments and dependents that even those beyond 50 have, do we have enough money to retire?
What if we like our jobs or want to continue working, but there’s an expiry date looming over each of us, the way Justin Timberlake had in the sci-fi movie In Time?
2. Cost of living is rising but what about our wages?
Where can we get bang for our buck when inflation and rising costs are eating away at our savings?
How can we get better wages when some of us will be disrupted by technology?
3. What we studied in school is useless IRL
How often did we train to get a cert, prayed for a job, then realise employers want something else we weren’t taught in school?
What if our education system gave us a holistic education instead of making us regurgitating-info robots?
4. Employers only care what we bring to the company, but don’t bother helping us improve our skills
We’ve become the use-and-dispose workforce.
We’re hired for our existing skills for employers to plug-and-play, then play us out when their customer demand changes and departments are closed.
Who says we cannot learn new skills? Who says we don’t want to learn?
But no, some employers just use-and-dispose us, then hire new people to plug-and-play. Why employers cannot plug-train-and-play?
5. Everyone at work is too focused on today’s problems, no time to learn new things
This happens when management is too anal about meeting short-term targets, and forgets to plan for long term ones, including training us to meet future needs.
Who at work can we depend on as a bridge to connect us to future opportunities? Who will be our voice?
6. We do our jobs until sian, then one day company says we’re irrelevant
Hello, we already feedback to management our jobs are boring and tedious. But no action taken.
We hear the government keep on talking about simi Committee of Future Economy, Industry Transformation Maps, future jobs etc, but company never changes.
Our jobs are still the same day-in-day-out.
Until one day they change us with someone else or just close down suddenly.
7. We want to learn and upgrade, but where to find affordable courses that don’t burn up so much time?
Can we learn conveniently? Whenever we have spare pockets of time, while killing time on MRT or in between meetings?
Got free or cheaply subsidised courses that aren’t so big and bombastic?
As long as got key points can already. But cannot be bluff one, at least must have a legit educational institution or training provider.
Too much to ask?
Got solution anot?
These are 7 problems in Singapore workers face that NTUC Secretary-General Ng Chee Meng acknowledged in his open letter to all working Singaporeans.
He says the Labour Movement (including unions, union leaders, NTUC’s network of social enterprises etc) wants to partner with educators, companies, business leaders, institutes of higher learning and government to tackle these concerns and struggles.
Some solutions are:
- unions and union leaders to connect workers to future opportunities
- Labour Movement to develop more modular bite-sized training options (with NTUC LearningHub, e2i and institutes of higher learning)
- NTUC social enterprises to continue offering value for money
- employers to redesign jobs, build a culture of learning at workplaces
- employers must support workers in training
- employers to make businesses more inclusive, e.g. towards mature workers
- government to change the way we teach and learn
- all to work together to make this real
Let’s see how they can make this real for all working Singaporeans, because having the Labour Movement as our voice and advocate is one thing, but getting the others to buck up and play ball is another.