10,000 find jobs via Workforce S'pore's career matching services

Number of placements in first half similar to that in same period last year, with WSG ramping up efforts to source jobs

Mr Alvin Lim, 48, was retrenched last year for the fourth time in 12 years. Things finally turned around in May when he started work leading a team of people who conduct surveys for the Ministry of Manpower. His boss has since extended his contract i
Mr Alvin Lim, 48, was retrenched last year for the fourth time in 12 years. Things finally turned around in May when he started work leading a team of people who conduct surveys for the Ministry of Manpower. His boss has since extended his contract in recognition of his good performance. ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

Some 10,000 local residents found jobs through Workforce Singapore's (WSG) career matching services in the first half of this year.

The number of placements is similar to that in the same period last year, even though the labour market has been badly hit this year by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The government agency said yesterday that it has been ramping up its efforts to source and curate jobs by organising as many virtual and physical career fairs as possible in the past few months.

It said the jobs offered at the fairs include both contract-based and permanent ones, with part-time and full-time options.

WSG chief executive Tan Choon Shian said: "With the pandemic changing the way we work and transforming industries at a much accelerated pace, we encourage our job seekers to keep an open mind to look beyond what is familiar to take on jobs in new roles or even new sectors, and embrace reskilling to stay relevant and attractive to employers when hiring demand picks up again."

He added that the agency will be hiring and training more career coaches and staff to support job seekers during this difficult period.

The latest preliminary labour market data, released on Wednesday, showed that unemployment and retrenchments surged between April and last month. Total employment, including those on work passes but excluding foreign domestic workers, saw the biggest quarterly fall on record.

Among the beneficiaries of WSG's work this year is Mr Alvin Lim, 48, who was retrenched last year for the fourth time in 12 years, and was still unemployed when his 77-year-old father, a kidney patient, died in February this year.

"I was feeling very sad and down about being retrenched. I wondered 'why me again'. And when my father passed away it added to my emotional stress," said Mr Lim, who had lost his job as a customer operations manager in a global corporate travel agency.

The father of two teenagers had previously worked as a service manager in the semiconductor industry, and tried unsuccessfully to rejoin the industry at the same level.

Through the help of a career coach and counsellor from WSG, he picked himself up and landed a temporary job manning a government hotline in April this year. However, it was cancelled a few days before he was due to start because the circuit breaker was announced.

Things finally turned around in May when he started work leading a team of people who conduct surveys for the Ministry of Manpower. His boss has since extended his contract in recognition of his good performance.

 
 
 

A WSG spokesman said there has been a steady increase in the number of people seeking assistance through its career-matching services over the past three years, which have also seen the agency expanding its footprint in Singapore.

Its physical contact points include locations in Paya Lebar, Tampines and Woodlands, and more recently, SGUnited Jobs and Skills Centres being set up in all 24 Housing Board towns.

Online, the MyCareersFuture.sg portal was launched in April 2018.

Workforce Singapore principal career coach Belinda Boo said it is natural for people to feel discouraged if they lose a job or are unable to find a suitable one. But it is also important for them not to lose hope as there are still opportunities, she said.

KEEPING AN OPEN MIND

With the pandemic changing the way we work and transforming industries at a much accelerated pace, we encourage our job seekers to keep an open mind to look beyond what is familiar to take on jobs in new roles or even new sectors, and embrace reskilling to stay relevant and attractive to employers when hiring demand picks up again.

WORKFORCE SINGAPORE CHIEF EXECUTIVE TAN CHOON SHIAN

If retrenched, she recommends that job seekers see how their skill sets can help them stand out and be open to opportunities in other sectors or job types.

There are opportunities even during Covid-19, in areas such as e-commerce and health services.

Job seekers can also seek professional career guidance, said Ms Boo.

WSG's Careers Connect centres' career coaches, for instance, can provide one-on-one guidance and give advice on writing a resume and preparing for interviews. They can also lend a listening ear.

Ultimately, though, the onus is on job seekers to follow through on their career action plan, she said.

Mr Lim, too, said his advice to other job seekers is to not be afraid to grab an opportunity.

"It doesn't mean that contract roles don't help at all. It may be a three-month job but it could lead to something else, you have to take that first step," he said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 31, 2020, with the headline '10,000 find jobs via Workforce S'pore's career matching services'. Subscribe