The job market may look bad, Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say acknowledged at a meeting with over 50 fresh graduates yesterday.
But he reassured them that they would be able to find jobs, provided they are driven and can adapt.
He was speaking to more than 50 Sikh graduates at an annual tea session organised by the Young Sikh Association and Sikh Centre, held at the National Library Building.
Mr Lim outlined recent initiatives by the Manpower Ministry to help job seekers, including its first virtual career fair last month which featured 500 vacancies with more than 50 employers.
"I will be frank," he said. "However many good jobs we create in Singapore, however many good careers, there will always be competition. We will create an exciting future for you, but it will also be a challenging one."
Mr Lim cautioned young job seekers against being too picky in the job hunt. "You're just sitting there waiting for the perfect job, but what if it doesn't come? Will you just sit there? The longer you stay out of employment, the harder it is to come back," he said.
He added that job seekers must be flexible and be prepared to switch careers when needed. He shared how he started out as a software engineer, only moving later to the Economic Development Board, before he entered politics.
"Those who will succeed are those who see every problem as an opportunity," he said.
Oxford University economics and management graduate Navjeev Singh said Mr Lim struck a chord with him when he counselled "passion, aim, and positivity" for success in the workforce.
Said the 24-year-old, who is starting a career in the civil service: "Paper qualifications can only get you through the door. After that, it's how you adapt to new situations around you that is most important."