Looking for jobs? Unions will help, but be flexible

The unions will help workers keep their jobs and assist retrenched workers to find new jobs.

But workers looking for jobs have to be open-minded and flexible too, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

They have to be willing to try something new, not just new jobs with new employers, but also new careers in different industries, Mr Lee said in his May Day Rally speech.

"Take up courses, reskill and if you get a job offer, consider it carefully," he said. "It will not be an easy process, but the labour movement is with you."

Mr Lee pointed out that unions and the Government are creating opportunities for workers of various age groups. "Whatever age you are, do not stop trying," he said.

Besides workers, Mr Lee also urged employers to come on board. "Work with us. Unions are doing their part, so must you," he said.

He urged employers not to just recruit new graduates but to give older workers a second chance as well. "Older workers bring with them maturity and experience. Grey hair is quite good," said Mr Lee, drawing laughter from the crowd. The public sector is taking the lead in hiring mature workers, he noted.

On its part, the Ministry of Manpower will develop professional conversion programmes for both entry-level and mid-level jobs.

The Government will also support employers with reskilling programmes, said Mr Lee.

A "good portion" of the wages of workers who undergo work trial with companies will be borne by the Government, Mr Lee noted.

"We help to pay the wages. So give it a try," said Mr Lee to employers.

"If the tripartite partners work together, we will transform together, adapt together and grow together," he added.

Toh Yong Chuan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 02, 2017, with the headline 'Looking for jobs? Unions will help, but be flexible'. Print Edition | Subscribe