2,500 jobs on offer in retail sector despite pandemic

Nearly two in five of the jobs are for PMETs; training opportunities also available in sector

Manpower Minister Josephine Teo and Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing observing a live-streaming rehearsal yesterday by SK Jewellery Group at the company's headquarters in Changi Business Park.
Manpower Minister Josephine Teo and Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing observing a live-streaming rehearsal yesterday by SK Jewellery Group at the company's headquarters in Changi Business Park.PHOTO: MINISTRY OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY

The retail sector may have taken a beating during the Covid-19 pandemic, but there are still some 2,500 jobs on offer as stores reopen and more businesses turn to e-commerce.

Nearly two in five of these jobs are for professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs), said Manpower Minister Josephine Teo in her weekly jobs situation report yesterday.

These are roles such as sales, marketing and business development managers, with monthly salaries of between $2,750 and $6,500, with a median of $3,750.

Meanwhile, retail and wholesale trade managers typically earn between $2,000 and $3,750 each month, with a median of $2,700.

The job roles also include commercial and marketing sales executives, who typically receive between $2,400 and $4,250 monthly, with a median of $3,200.

The non-PMET jobs such as shop sales staff typically receive monthly salaries of $1,400 to $1,900, with a median of $1,600.

These non-PMET roles are necessary to meet immediate manpower needs for front-of-house operations, as retail stores resumed operations after the end of the circuit breaker, said Mrs Teo.

At the same time, retailers are also increasingly looking to hire PMETs who have digital skills to help their businesses grow on e-commerce platforms, she added.

Apart from jobs, there are also about 610 company-hosted traineeships and attachments as well as about 430 training opportunities available in the sector.

Between April and last month, 770 individuals were placed into jobs, enhanced roles, traineeships and attachments as well as training opportunities in the retail sector, said the Ministry of Manpower (MOM).

Of these, about 700 either found a job or were able to retain their job in new or enhanced roles within the sector.

The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic forced many retailers to move their operations online on e-commerce platforms, and use technologies such as live-streaming and virtual reality to engage with customers, said MOM.

In August, nearly 11 per cent of total retail sales value came from online purchases, said the ministry.

This was higher in certain sub-sectors such as computer and telecommunications equipment, which saw e-commerce account for nearly 50 per cent of their sales.

To help retailers redesign jobs and create higher-value roles, as well as transform their businesses, Workforce Singapore's Job Redesign Reskilling Programme was enhanced in February.

As at end-August, more than 550 workers from 37 retailers have been or are being trained and redeployed into new or higher-value job roles through the programme.

About 40 per cent of them will receive a higher wage after completing the training, while the employers of the rest have committed to reviewing their wages after the Covid-19 situation stabilises, said MOM.

EMPLOYING SENIORS MOM

also gave an update yesterday on its efforts to encourage companies to hire older workers in retail and other sectors.

In July, applications opened for employers to seek funding support of up to $375,000 through the Senior Worker Early Adopter Grant (SW EAG) and Part-time Re-employment Grant (PTRG), which were introduced as part of the $1.3 billion Senior Worker Support Package.

In the first three months of applications, nearly 650 companies applied for the SW EAG, while about 440 applied for the PTRG, said MOM.

Almost all were small to medium-sized enterprises, including those in the retail sector, and about 37,000 employees will benefit from the grants.

The retail sector is one of the top sectors employing senior workers, with nearly one in three employees aged 55 or older.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 13, 2020, with the headline '2,500 jobs on offer in retail sector despite pandemic'. Print Edition | Subscribe