Economic recovery requires cooperation of Govt, employers, employees

A woman walking and looking at her handphone outside Raffles Place MRT Station in the Central Business District (CBD) area.
A woman walking and looking at her handphone outside Raffles Place MRT Station in the Central Business District (CBD) area.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

It is commendable that the Government is planning measures to cope with a recession if there is one ("Govt ready to act if S'pore goes into recession", "A 'one-stop, non-stop' fair for job seekers", and "Govt does not expect 'outright recession' for S'pore"; all published on Oct 11).

Economic recovery requires the cooperation of the Government, employers and employees.

The Government may plan sound economic policies, and employees may invest their time and money in skills upgrading. But employers must play their part to ensure that policies are successful in achieving their intended outcomes.

Very often, we hear stories of how people are unsuccessful in making a mid-career switch or in getting re-employed even though they are prepared to take a pay cut.

The "one-stop, non-stop" fair proposed is effective only if it translates into an effective match between employer and job applicant.

With this in mind, employers must re-examine their job requirements and evaluate if they are all necessary.

The ministry could screen and flag companies that list requirements that may not be necessary for the job, and ensure there is no loophole for companies to exploit to employ foreigners.

Furthermore, while training programmes are necessary in building a skilled workforce, self-upgrading goes beyond course attendance. A substantial part of upgrading involves learning through acquiring experience.

However, workers will not have a chance to do this if even entry-level jobs require "relevant job experience". Perhaps, the Government could play a part by offering training subsidies to employers who hire inexperienced employees.

Sustaining a robust economy requires a wise government, welcoming employers, and open-minded employees.

This effective tripartite partnership will be the vital building block of a productive society engaging in meaningful and value-added work.

Woo Jia Qian (Miss)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 20, 2016, with the headline 'Economic recovery requires cooperation of Govt, employers, employees'. Print Edition | Subscribe