Committee of Supply debate: Ministry of Manpower

Still jobless after a year, ex-IT exec open to learning new skills

Since March last year when his contract with a school was not renewed, Mr Lee has applied for more than 150 jobs in IT, logistics and other areas. Fewer than 20 employers interviewed him.
Since March last year when his contract with a school was not renewed, Mr Lee has applied for more than 150 jobs in IT, logistics and other areas. Fewer than 20 employers interviewed him.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

For about 1 1/2 years, audiovisual and IT executive Lee Shu Yuan would give his parents about $500 each month from his $2,600 salary.

In March last year, he stopped. His work contract with a secondary school was not renewed.

Today, the 30-year-old, who holds a diploma in technology (logistics), is still without a job.

"It's not because I did not look for work." Showing this reporter his JobStreet account, he said he had applied for more than 150 jobs in IT, logistics and other areas.

Fewer than 20 employers interviewed him and none offered him a job. "Most of the employers do not tell you whether you've been rejected, they just keep you waiting," he said.

The closest he came to landing a job was last year, as a senior officer for technology training and support at the Singapore Institute of Management. He did not get past the second round, when he was asked to give a simulated lesson. "It was a crushing blow."

While he prefers to be paid about $2,600 a month, he is prepared to accept $2,300.

He is also prepared to work in other areas in the technology industry like IT project management, or even in another sector.

Meanwhile, he is open to considering the Government's Professional Conversion Programme, which helps job seekers learn new skills for new careers.

The Manpower Ministry said yesterday the programme would be expanded to help PMETs make a career switch in the same industry, but in a different job.

Under the programme, the Government will subsidise the salaries of new employees by up to 90 per cent when they undergo training, capped at $4,000.

In the past month, Mr Lee has had two job interviews. He has also applied to IT products firm Challenger Technologies for a retail associate post.

"I am not giving up hope," he said. "I want to start giving my parents a monthly sum again. I can't let them keep supporting me." His father is a cabby and his mother, a housewife. Both are in their 60s.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 09, 2016, with the headline 'Still jobless after a year, ex-IT exec open to learning new skills'. Print Edition | Subscribe