Forum: Experienced job seekers need more help

The Government deserves praise for giving fresh law graduates more traineeship opportunities in the legal sector to boost their employability (More traineeship opportunities in legal sector for fresh law grads, June 25).

But great care must be taken to ensure that such well-intentioned efforts do not prejudice experienced job seekers in any way, particularly those who have lost their jobs before or during the pandemic and who have elderly parents and children to support.

These job seekers would include experienced lawyers, paralegals and other legal-related roles.

Under the SGUnited Traineeships programme, the Government will fund 80 per cent of the training allowance. With a carrot like that dangled in front of employers, an employer has little incentive to hire an experienced job seeker.

Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said in his ministerial broadcast on June 17 that the Government will scale up the new Mid-Career Pathways programme to prepare older workers for more permanent jobs (S'pore to strengthen social compact to keep society united, June 18).

One way to help experienced job seekers secure employment is to automatically enrol them in the Government's Career Support Programme (CSP), which gives wage support to employers who hire mature Singaporeans, and remove its requirement of having been unemployed for six months or more.

Employers under the CSP must be given assurances that they have the liberty to terminate employment contracts on reasonable grounds during the period of wage support. Employers must also not be forced to maintain the same salary packages if their businesses falter after the wage support period ends.

I hope the Government can take all these into consideration before they announce details of the Mid-Career Pathways programme.

Faisal Maricar