Job matching helps workers and employers

The Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics (Home) welcomes the news that the Singapore Contractors Association (Scal) has developed an online directory to facilitate job matching between employers and workers who are nearing the end of their contracts ("Portal to match foreign workers with urgent jobs"; last Wednesday).

We agree that such a move will save costs for both parties and contribute to higher productivity in the construction sector.

As many migrant workers may not be IT-savvy, it is important to reach out to workers about this new service via other channels.

We also urge the Ministry of Manpower to work with Scal and other employer associations to extend such job matching facilities to other key industries, such as the services and marine sectors, which are also experiencing a productivity crisis.

Another category of workers which this service should be extended to includes those who have been unfairly treated by employers and have been granted the right to switch employers by the authorities.

Even though most workers are not allowed by law to make this switch, Home has successfully appealed to the Ministry of Manpower on behalf of a number of such cases, because these workers became jobless through no fault of their own and have paid huge recruitment fees to agents.

But they face significant challenges finding employers because many of them are new to Singapore and do not know who to turn to for employment opportunities.

High worker levies and quota restrictions are also barriers to employment for them.

Employment agencies usually charge fees which already indebted workers are unable to afford, making this option unrealistic for them.

Moreover, workers in these situations are usually given only two to four weeks by the Ministry of Manpower to look for a new job and have to rely on financial aid from non-governmental organisations, such as Home, for basic survival.

Facilitating job matching between such workers and employers will be beneficial to both parties.

Employers can save on recruitment costs as the workers are already here and the workers themselves will not fall prey to unlicensed or unscrupulous agents.

Jolovan Wham

Executive Director

Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 20, 2015, with the headline 'Job matching helps workers and employers'. Print Edition | Subscribe