Parliament: Government scheme helps many job-seeking PMETs restart their careers

More than 1,100 PMETs have used the Career Support Programme.
More than 1,100 PMETs have used the Career Support Programme.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Most of the unemployed PMETs who got a job, through a government scheme set up to help them, have been able to restart their careers.

The Career Support Programme (CSP) will pay employers, who hire retrenched or long-term unemployed mid-career professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs), up to half their salaries. It will do so for a maximum of 18 months.

Official figures show that a year later, seven out of 10 of these PMETs are still employed.

What's more, about 70 per cent of these newly employed PMETS stayed with the same employer, an indication that the programme has found them jobs that are a good fit. The remaining 30 per cent went to work for another employer.

Second Manpower Minister Josephine Teo painted this successful picture of the CSP in Parliament on Wednesday (Jan 10), in her response to Non-Constituency MP Leon Perera, who wanted to know its effectiveness.

More than 1,100 PMETs have used the programme since it started in October 2015 and over nine in 10 of them are aged 40 and older.

Mrs Teo said more than eight in 10 of all these PMETs had been looking for work for at least six months.

Another bright spot in the picture is the increased number of job placements achieved by the scheme. It has risen from about 200 in the first three-quarters of 2016 to more than 800 in the same period last year.

About half the employers on the CSP are small and medium-sized enterprises.

Mrs Teo also gave figures on the Professional Conversion Programmes, which help PMETs find jobs in growth sectors and get the necessary skills training for these jobs.

In the first three-quarters of last year, about 2,700 PMETs found work under these programmes, up from 900 in the same period in 2016, she said.

Labour MP Patrick Tay (West Coast GRC) suggested the Government do more to make the CSP more attractive to small businesses, like paying the wage subsidy automatically when an employer hires a person who fits the criteria.

Mrs Teo said a system would not be able to determine automatically if an employer declines to pay a higher salary, which is what the wage subsidy aims to address.

She added that in light of recent discussions on the fraudulent use of government schemes, greater care is necessary to ensure wage support is given "in cases that are really deserving".

"Can we improve on the application and processing, can we make sure the employer doesn't have to wait too long, the answer to that is 'yes', but always maintaining a certain rigour of assesment," she said.