SINGAPORE - 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 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 on Thursday (July 30) 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.
"In the months ahead, we will continue to enhance our career matching services to ensure they meet the changing needs of our job seekers and to support the efforts of the National Jobs Council," he said.
The council is overseeing the implementation of the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package which will create close to 100,000 jobs, traineeships and training places for job seekers in the next year.
The latest labour market data, released on Wednesday, showed that unemployment and retrenchments surged between April and June. Total employment, including those on work passes but excluding foreign domestic workers, made 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.
"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 been working as a customer operations manager in a global corporate travel agency and was made redundant when the firm consolidated its projects.
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 surveyors 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.
Besides physical contact points at WSG's Careers Connect centres in Paya Lebar, Tampines and Woodlands, and the National Trades Union Congress' e2i centres in Jurong East, Toa Payoh and One Marina Boulevard, job seekers can also get help at Careers Connect On-the-Go, which is a truck that roves around Singapore, and more recently, the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Centres which are being set up in all 24 Housing Board towns.
Online, the MyCareersFuture.sg portal was launched in April 2018 to use machine learning technology to help job seekers and potential employers more effectively find a good match.
Mr Lim's 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.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU'RE RETRENCHED
Workforce Singapore principal career coach Belinda Boo said that it is natural for people to feel discouraged if they lose a job or are unable to find a suitable one.
While acknowledging the emotions they are going through, it is also important for them not to lose hope, as there are still opportunities, she said.
Here are steps she recommends for coping with a retrenchment.
1. Take stock of your skills
Determine what transferable and marketable skill sets you can offer prospective employers that would help you stand out from other job seekers.
2. Be open to opportunities, be flexible
While Covid-19 has negatively affected certain industries, it has also opened pathways and accelerated growth opportunities in areas such as e-commerce, manufacturing, information and communications technology, health and social services, and financial services.
Job seekers, especially those from sectors hardest hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, can consider opportunities in new roles or sectors, or short-term jobs that are in high demand during this period.
3. Seek professional career guidance
If you are feeling lost or unsure about how to start searching for a job, you can approach career ambassadors or career coaches at WSG's Careers Connect centres and SGUnited Jobs and Skills Centres.
Career coaches provide one-on-one guidance and can advise you on how to tailor your resume to the job you are applying for and prepare for job interviews. They can also lend a listening ear.
Career ambassadors are stationed at the satellite career centres to provide basic career advice and guidance on the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package.
Ultimately, Ms Boo said, the onus is on job seekers to follow through on their career action plan.