Part-time job seekers and companies get help to try out working arrangements

Job seekers at the Adapt and Grow Career Fair at the HDB Hub on July 2, 2019.
Job seekers at the Adapt and Grow Career Fair at the HDB Hub on July 2, 2019.ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH

SINGAPORE - Footwear retailer Skechers has 66 vacancies in retail and logistics it is looking to fill as it expands, but finding dedicated workers has been no easy task.

Ms Zann Lee, its regional director for sales and products, said the company has tried to fill the gaps by hiring part-time sales associates through recruitment agencies, but the recruiters promised more flexibility in working arrangements than the company could actually provide. "The drop-out rates are about 40 per cent," she said.

Many part-time workers did not want to work during the crowded evening and weekend hours, which is when they are most needed, she said.

Now, Ms Lee hopes to bring some on board through the Career Trial scheme, which lets employers and job seekers try out a work arrangement for up to three months, during which the Government foots the bill for a training allowance of between $7.50 and $15 per hour. This is capped at 480 hours for full-time workers and 80 hours per month for part-time ones.

After the trial period, the company can then offer a permanent job or a contract of at least a year, if it wishes.

The scheme was expanded on May 15 to include part-time work, which has attracted at least 13 employers so far, said Workforce Singapore (WSG), the agency which runs the programme. Besides Skechers, these include electronics and furniture retailer Courts, restaurant chain Han's and integrated resort Marina Bay Sands.

Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Manpower Low Yen Ling told reporters on Tuesday (July 2) that the expansion was done to benefit more Singaporeans, such as caregivers or retirees, who want flexibility.

 
 
 

"This also widens the talent pool for our companies, especially companies in the service sector," she said, on the sidelines of the Adapt and Grow career fair at HDB Hub in Toa Payoh.

There are now 750 employers on the scheme, she said, most offering full-time employment.

Ms Low said that about 30 per cent of the 730 people who found jobs through Career Trial last year claimed a retention bonus of $500, which means they stayed on the job for at least three months after being hired.

In the first three months of this year, more than 100 people have found full-time jobs through Career Trial, WSG said.

One of them, guest services officer Dicky Dzulkarnaen, 37, started a month-long career trial at four-star hotel Park Regis Singapore in January.

He had worked in the front office of a budget hotel for four years before a medical condition forced him to leave. It has since stabilised.

During the month-long trial, he learnt new skills for a variety of roles like concierge, front office and call operator.

"The learning process was stressful sometimes but I took it as a challenge," he said.

Park Regis human resources manager Joan Loh said Career Trial helps reduce the cost of recruitment and training, especially when turnover is high.

"A lot of times after people come on board they get scared off by the working hours or job nature, and then we have to restart the process to recruit and train someone else," she said. "This way, we can assess whether the candidate is a good fit."

More than 1,500 jobs from over 70 employers are on offer over Tuesday and Wednesday at the Adapt and Grow career fair through booths, video interviews or online (vcf.mycareersfuture.sg). Job seekers can apply to try out positions through Career Trial.