Employers, PMETs must manage pay expectations

The Government has been rolling out schemes that help out-of-work professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) find jobs.

But are these schemes producing positive outcomes?

There seems to be a constant stream of calls from employers to relax the rules on hiring foreigners.

Could it be that foreign professionals are seen as a younger, and cheaper option?

The issue of pay is a challenging one in the hiring of older PMETs. 

PMETs who are in their 40s and above are likely to be married, with children in school and aged parents to support. According to media reports, a number of these PMETs who lost their jobs were drawing more than $10,000 a month.

If their salaries are halved, or worse, in their new jobs, even though they were hired based on relevant experience, the impact on their standard of living would be substantial.

It is also a psychological blow for someone with, say, more than 20 years of working experience to have to accept a salary likely to be close to that of a fresh graduate. 

As long as employers expect to pay affected PMETs substantially less while the older workers cling on to the hope of minimal pay reductions, there will always be a mismatch in terms of remuneration expectations.

The end result has been a preference among employers for younger professionals who can accept lower pay, and older workers rejecting a job offer as they see the pay cut as being too much to bear.

Employers and affected PMETs have to manage their expectations for there to be a remuneration package acceptable to both sides.

Gabriel Cheng Kian Tiong 

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 27, 2017, with the headline 'Employers, PMETs must manage pay expectations'. Print Edition | Subscribe