Forum: Self-employment may be the answer for some

People at Raffles Place MRT on June 2, 2020.
People at Raffles Place MRT on June 2, 2020.PHOTO: ST FILE

The retrenchment and unemployment figures in the second quarter are sobering (Unemployment at highest in a decade, retrenchments up, July 30).

It is all the more disheartening to know that the numbers will get worse for the rest of this year and possibly beyond, due to the Covid-19 pandemic (Experts fear worst may be yet to come in job market, July 30).

Job losses affect not just employees but also their families.

The support schemes that have been put in place to save jobs and businesses as well as to provide relief to affected individuals are unprecedented in their scale.

We need to come to grips with this dire economic situation.

In addition to the new jobs, traineeships, training opportunities and attachments being created or facilitated by the Government, there is another option for the unemployed to consider.

One immediate way to find a job is to create it, as an independent service provider to service buyers. Self-employment makes sense in these extraordinary times.

It is a good start to regaining the dignity of work, be it an assignment, project, part-time engagement or short-term employment. The only overheads would be from oneself.

Singaporeans seeking freelance work could approach the Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF) and Singapore Business Federation (SBF) to offer their services to their members.

Such initiative demonstrates resourcefulness, responsibility and resilience in the face of a difficult situation beyond one's control.

SNEF and SBF could perhaps help by compiling a list of service providers, with details of their experience, expertise and education, and connect them with interested members, as part of their corporate social responsibility.

The companies will benefit from lower costs, as there is no need for Central Provident Fund contributions and other employment expenses.

The Ministry of Manpower could also link the service providers to government organisations for such work opportunities.

The Covid-19 crisis is temporary. The recession and unemployment will end one day. Temporary employment to tide over the transition may be an answer.

Joachim Sim Khim Huang

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 06, 2020, with the headline 'Self-employment may be the answer for some'. Print Edition | Subscribe