Support scheme helps most job-seeking PMETs restart careers

Most of the unemployed PMETs who got a job through a government scheme, set up to help them, have been able to restart their careers.

The Career Support Programme (CSP) pays employers who hire retrenched or long-term unemployed mid-career professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) up to half their salaries. It does so for a maximum of 18 months.

Official figures show that a year later, seven out of 10 of these PMETs are still employed.

What's more, about 70 per cent of these newly employed PMETs stayed with the same employer, an indication that the programme has found them jobs that are a good fit. The remaining 30 per cent went to work for another employer.

Second Minister for Manpower Josephine Teo painted this successful picture of the CSP yesterday, in her response to Non-Constituency MP Leon Perera, who wanted to know about its effectiveness.

More than 1,100 PMETs have used the programme since it started in October 2015 and almost all are aged 40 and older.

Mrs Teo said more than eight in 10 of these PMETs had been looking for work for at least six months.

Another bright spot in the picture is the increased number of job placements achieved by the scheme. It has risen from about 200 in the first three-quarters of 2016 to more than 800 in the same period last year.

About half of the employers on the CSP are small and medium-sized enterprises.

Mrs Teo also gave figures on the Professional Conversion Programmes, which help PMETs find jobs in growth sectors and get the necessary skills training for these jobs. In the first three quarters of last year, about 2,700 PMETs found work under these programmes, up from 900 in the same period in 2016, she said.

Labour MP Patrick Tay (West Coast GRC) suggested that the Government do more to make the CSP more attractive to small businesses, like paying the wage subsidy automatically when an employer hires a person who fits the criteria.

Mrs Teo said a system would not be able to determine automatically if an employer declines to pay a higher salary, which is what the wage subsidy aims to address.

She added that in the light of recent discussions on the fraudulent use of government schemes, greater care is necessary.

"Can we improve on the application and processing? Can we make sure the employer doesn't have to wait too long? The answer to that is 'yes', but always maintaining a certain rigour of assessment," she said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 11, 2018, with the headline 'Support scheme helps most job-seeking PMETs restart careers'. Print Edition | Subscribe