SINGAPORE - Career centres set up by the Government and the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) helped 25,000 Singaporeans and permanent residents find jobs last year, a 25 per cent jump from the previous year.
Six in 10 of the job seekers were professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs), said Manpower Minister Josephine Teo in a jobs situation report on Friday (Feb 19).
The report, which was started by Mrs Teo last August, typically focuses on sectors that are seeing hiring demand.
On Friday, the 19th weekly edition of the report highlighted how job-matching efforts by Workforce Singapore (WSG) and the NTUC Employment and Employability Institute (e2i) intensified last year.
Speaking to reporters on Friday at the Tampines Changkat Community Centre after meeting job seekers at a jobs fair for logistics roles organised by WSG, Mrs Teo said the number of job placements through career matching services last year exceeded her expectations.
“For quite a few months last year, employers were simply not in a position to hire, the outcome was completely uncertain... Under those circumstances, to expect any hiring at all, is very, very difficult,” she said.
“But once we got into the third quarter and we went into Phase Two... the backfilling of positions certainly contributed to the career matches.”
She also noted that 34,000 job seekers received individualised career coaching, with two in three were PMETs. This was a 15 per cent increase over 2019.
Of those who received career coaching, eight in 10 were unemployed, and six in 10 were 40 years old or older. About four in 10 had been searching for jobs for at least six months.
More than 13,000 individuals - more than double the previous year - were placed in career conversion programmes such as mid-career conversion programmes, said the minister.
About 40 per cent more career fairs and related events - a number exceeding 1,300 - were organised last year. These include virtual and physical career fairs, walk-in interviews and career matching services.
Mrs Teo said the top challenges for job seekers included emotional barriers, gaps in skills and having difficulties adapting to potentially new work conditions.
Some job seekers also had outdated job search techniques and had limited networks, she added.
To help job seekers overcome these challenges, WSG and e2i introduced workshops, seminars and individualised programmes.
Singaporeans who were retrenched last year were also contacted, where possible, and about three in 10 chose to receive career matching services while the remainder chose to search for jobs on their own or take a break from employment, said Mrs Teo.
The minister urged job seekers to seek help from WSG or e2i early in their job search.
"The sooner the job seekers widen their options and seek out professional assistance, it may shorten their job search,” she said.
“It doesn’t mean that every single person will be able to get a job in a very short time... but it shortens the journey,” Mrs Teo added.