2nd foreign agency starts work to help PMETs in job search

Job seekers will now have more help in finding jobs.

Maximus Asia, a subsidiary of American company Maximus, has been appointed by Workforce Singapore (WSG) to provide free help to professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) who are looking for jobs.

The company started operations in Singapore yesterday.

It is the second foreign job-placement agency appointed by the Government under a two-year pilot scheme. The first agency, Ingeus, started operations in April.

In a statement yesterday, WSG said job seekers will be assigned to Maximus Asia or Ingeus, whom it calls career-matching providers, "on a randomised basis".

The national job agency added: "Only unemployed PMET job seekers who have been actively searching for jobs for at least three months, or have been made redundant, may be assigned to the career-matching providers."

When asked how many job seekers Ingeus has taken on and how many have found jobs, the WSG said: "We will not be giving an update on Ingeus at this point in time."

NEW OPPORTUNITIES

Only unemployed PMET job seekers who have been actively searching for jobs for at least three months, or have been made redundant, may be assigned to the career-matching providers.

WORKFORCE SINGAPORE, on how job seekers are assigned to the two foreign job-placement agencies.

It declined to disclose how much it is paying Maximus Asia and Ingeus, citing "contractual agreements". It had said previously that the providers will be paid based on actual placements made.

Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say first announced the move to bring in overseas providers in March, as part of several initiatives to better match out-of-work people to available jobs.

"They were selected because of their business focus on active job seekers - these are the workers who are actively looking for jobs - rather than passive job seekers where the jobs were looking for the workers," Mr Lim said of the two foreign companies in March.

Maximus Asia has 14 staff in total, of whom 12 are local. The two foreigners here are advisers, the WSG said. One of them is Ms Michelle Dimasi, who is the programme director here. Her profile at the company's website said that she previously worked in Maximus' Saudi Arabia office.

  • US firm's subsidiary is $1 company

  • The US-based Maximus Inc is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, with its share price currently hovering above US$60 (S$83) and the company valued at more than US$4 billion.

    The company operates in the United States, Canada, Britain, Australia and Saudi Arabia, running outsourced government programmes.

    Checks found that its Singapore subsidiary Maximus Asia, registered in March, has a paid-up capital of just $1. Paid-up capital is the amount an investor pumps into a firm in exchange for a stake.

    UK-registered Maximus Companies, the parent company, paid $1 for the full stake in the local subsidiary.

    The subsidiary has four directors: two Americans, an Australian and a Singaporean, Ms Noor Hasna Jani, who is also director of almost 900 firms here, about half of which have either been struck off or deregistered.

    Maximus has been embroiled in several controversies overseas. The Guardian newspaper reported last year that British government auditors found that it failed to meet the targets of a national assessment scheme for disability payments that it was contracted to do, despite escalating costs.

    In 2007, the firm paid US$30.5 million to settle a federal fraud lawsuit in the US.

    When asked, WSG said it picked Maximus because of its "established track record" and "proven commitment".

    On the firm's history and $1 structure, the WSG said that they were "factored into the consideration... but did not affect the ultimate outcome".

    Toh Yong Chuan

Maximus Asia could not be reached yesterday. Calls to its office at Westgate mall were routed to voicemail.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 13, 2017, with the headline '2nd foreign agency starts work to help PMETs in job search'. Print Edition | Subscribe