While Covid-19 has inflicted much pain, it will also give rise to new job opportunities in the healthcare sector, with thousands of job and training opportunities on offer for a wide spectrum of people, including those without healthcare experience.
There will be about 7,500 jobs and 1,600 traineeships, attachments and skills training opportunities created from now until the end of next year, the Ministry of Health (MOH) announced yesterday.
Most of these positions are suitable for fresh graduates entering the workforce and mid-career job seekers - with or without a background in healthcare.
Covid-19 has taken a toll on the job market, with lower-wage and mature workers and many mid-career Singaporeans hit hard.
The Government, on its part, is focused on saving and creating jobs through various schemes, including a $2 billion SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package to create 100,000 jobs, traineeships and training places.
The ministry's announcement about the new healthcare sector jobs came as Health Minister Gan Kim Yong yesterday said Singapore will work to ensure it has the resources to battle the pandemic.
"Although it has presented us with many challenges, Covid-19 has also strengthened our resolve to transform healthcare," he said, sharing his ministry's plans following the President's Address.
Mr Gan added that MOH will ramp up recruitment, even as it looks at how to improve the career development and welfare of healthcare workers.
"We will... review salaries for competitiveness as well as in recognition of the sacrifices made by our healthcare workers," he said.
The Ministry of Social and Family Development and Ministry of Education outlined plans to continue supporting Singaporeans, by reviewing and strengthening social safety nets and improving social mobility, among other things.
Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said in a Facebook post yesterday that the plans by the ministries are about "keeping us safe, bringing out the best in us, and helping us when we are down and out".
Elaborating on the jobs in healthcare, MOH said about a third of the 7,500 opportunities are for healthcare professionals, including nurses and allied health workers.
The remaining two-thirds of vacancies are for various positions, including support care, administrative and ancillary roles, which will be suitable for fresh graduates and mid-career job seekers from non-healthcare backgrounds.
The 1,600 traineeships, attachments and skills training opportunities will be provided under the SGUnited initiative, and help people acquire relevant working experience and skills needed in the sector.
Employers and trainees will receive funding support. Said MOH: "Employers can consider hiring well-performing trainees and mid-career individuals at any time during or after the completion of the traineeship or attachment."
CIMB Private Banking economist Song Seng Wun said the opportunities will help to boost employment if there is an "overwhelming response to working in healthcare".
"Perhaps this recession will induce some who are sitting on the fence and without other job options to consider healthcare and allied industries," he added.
"Much will depend on how receptive we are to working in the sector."
Associate Professor Jeremy Lim of the National University of Singapore's Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health said the sector will need people with skills in areas such as digital technologies, e-logistics and remote sensor devices as it grows and transforms.
"Hence, there is a need for more manpower across the board - more clinical staff, more managerial and administrative support, and new skill sets," he said.