A new jobs portal has been launched to link job seekers to both employment and training opportunities, especially in Singapore's growing sectors.
Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said in a Facebook post yesterday that the information on the portal - jobsgohere.gov.sg - is tailored to different types of job seekers, and it is meant to make the job-hunting process as convenient as possible.
It caters to both fresh graduates and mid-career workers, who may or may not have prior experience in a particular sector.
Mr Tharman noted that jobs will be the central challenge of the future everywhere in the world, with a real prospect of prolonged high unemployment in many countries.
"Incomes of those in the broad middle class have stagnated in a whole range of advanced economies - with a few like Sweden and Singapore being the exceptions," he said. "And jobs have been created mainly at the high-and low-skilled ends of the labour market - like a barbell structure - with fewer jobs in the middle."
However, with Covid-19 in the picture, the "bottom end of the barbell is shrinking" with a whole range of service tasks being eliminated by e-commerce, remote work, and safe distancing guidelines that will likely continue to be in place for the next few years.
The pandemic is far from being tamed, and vaccines cannot be expected to be a quick fix, he said, warning of a slow and bumpy economic recovery internationally and possible repeated lockdowns.
"The good news: If there is one thing we've learnt from how Singapore has brought down local transmission of the virus to close to zero, it is that we will succeed if we all play our part. We have to apply this same orientation towards jobs, and more forcefully than ever before," he said.
The Government and its tripartite partners are sparing no effort on this front, he added.
While the goal is to avoid poor-fitting job matches as much as possible, no job match will be perfect, he noted. Therefore, employers must take responsibility and be willing to give opportunities to job seekers without the required background or qualifications.
On their part, job seekers must be willing to step into new territory and develop further on the job, he said, adding that many have done so and found satisfaction in their new careers.
Mr Tharman highlighted bright spots in many parts of the economy, including finance, healthcare, infocomm technology, manufacturing, logistics, pockets of the retail sector and the emerging green economy.
Sharing an article he wrote for The Straits Times on the challenges and possible solutions in the jobs area, he noted that the problems are becoming entrenched in several other advanced countries.
"We are making a determined effort to avoid that happening in Singapore," he said. "We must be a place where everyone can adapt to new realities, get support to keep learning, see things improve over time, and make the most of life. I'm convinced we will succeed."