140,000 more locals hired under Jobs Growth Incentive scheme since November 2020

The Jobs Growth Incentive scheme aims to spur firms to hire more locals, with $1 billion set aside to provide wage support for these workers. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Another 140,000 locals have found new jobs since November last year under a government scheme to help employers expand their local workforce, the Ministry of Manpower said on Wednesday (July 14).

As at February this year, there were 270,000 Singapore citizens and permanent residents hired by 42,000 businesses. The Jobs Growth Incentive (JGI) scheme was introduced in August last year.

About half of the 270,000 workers were not employed at the point of hiring and about one-third had been out of work for more than six months.

About 60 per cent were previously employed in a different sector.

The JGI scheme, which is set to be extended to September this year, aims to spur firms to hire more locals, with $1 billion set aside to provide wage support for these workers.

Firms that hire local workers will receive a subsidy of 25 per cent of the first $5,000 of their gross monthly salaries for up to one year.

From March 1 this year, those hiring workers aged 40 and above, people with disabilities or former offenders can receive a co-payment of up to 50 per cent of the first $6,000 of their gross monthly income for up to 18 months.

Manpower Minister Tan See Leng said that 99 per cent of the businesses that created new jobs under the JGI scheme were small and medium-sized enterprises.

About half of the businesses hired one to two local workers, while the remaining half hired more than two workers.

He was speaking to reporters at a virtual briefing after a visit on Wednesday to The Social Kitchen located at Jurong Bird Park. It is a social enterprise that hires people with disabilities as well as mature workers and received support from the JGI scheme as a result.

Dr Tan said the latest figures are "very reassuring, comforting and promising".

He noted that a significant number of new jobs had been created in growth sectors such as wholesale trade, professional services, and information and communications.

Employers in the food services and retail sectors accounted for 20 per cent of the new hires, supporting the recovery of those sectors, Dr Tan said.

"The JGI-eligible employers were successful in tapping a wider pool of job seekers, including those who were previously unemployed, as well as mature workers who may require skills top-ups for them to make mid-career switches. This is actually quite remarkable," he added.

He urged employers to tap government support to reskill their workers to take on redesigned roles, such as through career conversion programmes and the Productivity Solutions Grants.

Dr Tan said that in a constantly changing and evolving environment, it may be difficult to find the "perfect worker" to match a job.

"But I think... when we open up our mindset, we will be able to find a lot of good matches and train them. So I believe that this is how our businesses, our workers can both grow and emerge stronger together," he said.

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