The Straits Times says

Protecting workers on home turf

Economic disruption is hitting not only industries but also companies, which sometimes face a peculiar situation. This is that companies might be shedding workers in some areas but also need to hire more for roles such as in building information modelling. That is the case in the built environment sector, which the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has identified as the sixth industry which holds the promise of growth. This potential makes it necessary to focus attention closely on retraining workers and matching people to jobs. The other five industries which merit this emphasis are healthcare, infocomm and media, wholesale trade, professional services, and financial services - a substantial range of industries.

It is a good idea to handle the challenges mounted by selective disruption through joint efforts by MOM, economic agencies and companies. The objective is to retrain workers for new roles being created in their firms before they are retrenched. The traditional approach, which focuses on those already out of work, still has its uses, but it makes sense to redeploy workers within companies wherever possible. The psychological effects of the approach would be immense for workers, who would be spared the trauma of having to leave a company to which they had been loyal. Indeed, firms that succeed in making a transition to in-house redeployment would command a premium by way of loyalty. For the companies, the benefits would be more mundane but not negligible. They would save time on having to hire new people. The initiative, announced by Manpower Minister Josephine Teo, reveals a continuing need to fine-tune policies so that they serve workers and companies making the transition to new protocols of work.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 02, 2018, with the headline 'Protecting workers on home turf'. Print Edition | Subscribe