92,000 jobs, traineeships committed as of end-July, 7 in 10 are PMET roles

Manpower Minister Josephine Teo said about half of these jobs are government-funded, heavily subsidised traineeship and attachment opportunities. PHOTO: MINISTRY OF COMMUNICATIONS AND INFORMATION

SINGAPORE - Some 92,000 jobs, traineeship and attachment opportunities have been committed and made available to job seekers as of end-July.

About seven in 10 of these positions are professional, manager, executive and technician (PMET) roles.

Sharing these figures as part of a new weekly jobs situation report announced during a press conference on Tuesday (Aug 11), Manpower Minister Josephine Teo said about half of these jobs are government-funded, heavily subsidised traineeship and attachment opportunities, or hiring that was brought forward by public sector agencies.

About 42,000 positions are offered by private sector employers, with the bulk of those long-term roles. Long-term roles refer to placements which are longer than 12 months, and are not limited to permanent positions.

Some 24,000 job seekers have been placed into either employment or training opportunities as of the end of July, with about six in 10 in short-term positions.

The initial focus was on placing job seekers into more short-term jobs, which are for up to 12 months, to handle the surge in Covid-19 related operations. Since then, the Government has been increasing its efforts to implement traineeships and training opportunities, details and updates of which will be provided in future jobs situation reports, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said in a statement

Around 40 per cent of the 24,000 placed positions are for PMETs.

On the lower proportion of PMETs that have been placed compared with the available opportunities, Mrs Teo said: "It shows that for matching of PMETs, it tends to be less straightforward, because the host companies or the employers are looking for a better match in terms of skills, in terms of experience, as well as in terms of the wage expectations."

Workforce Singapore organised 59 outreach activities, including walk-in interviews, in the month of July alone, Mrs Teo added, pointing out that it was more than what is normally held over an entire year.

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The MOM said in its statement that nearly 1,000 opportunities were available at 11 walk-in interviews held in July, in sectors such as early childhood education, logistics, food and beverage, retail and manufacturing. Slightly more than 300 job seekers applied for at least one job and more than 200 were shortlisted. In the same month, close to 2,700 people attended career workshops and seminars.

WSG has also deployed information kiosks in neighbourhoods to raise awareness of schemes under the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package, the ministry noted, with more than 5,700 people engaged through five pop-up kiosks in July.

During the press conference, Mrs Teo cited an example of a displaced worker who found new work opportunities after retrenchment. Mr Alvin Lim, 48, whom The Straits Times reported in July now heads a team of field surveyors which collects data on the labour market for the MOM, had found his new role after receiving advice from a career coach.

Mr Lim's resilience is an example that the Government hopes will encourage other job seekers to not turn down unfamiliar or temporary positions because they could lead to something more permanent and relevant to workers' skill sets, she added.

While the labour market has softened, there are still pockets of hiring, Mrs Teo said, noting that in future jobs situation updates, the Government will feature hiring sectors as well as job opportunities, highlighting emerging opportunities as Singapore moves towards recovery.

Citing the manufacturing sector as an example, she said that while overall employment in the sector has contracted, sub-sectors such as electronics and precision engineering are still hiring. There are at least 1,000 positions in the sector which have yet to be filled.

"We still hope that job seekers may consider giving these opportunities a try because they do allow you to gain relevant experience, and hopefully when the company is in a position to hire into permanent positions, you will be in a better place to access these opportunities," she added, urging job seekers to consider all opportunities which are available.

MOM divisional director for manpower planning and policy Kenny Tan said at a press briefing on Tuesday that while some economic recovery is expected to come in the second half of the year, the ministry expects the labour market to remain soft in the coming quarter.

"Businesses will still remain very cautious about hiring, so there's a dampening of hiring demand, and we will expect increased pressure to retrench," he said.

Even if there is a rebound in the economy, a lagged effect is expected before there is a return of business confidence to boost the labour market, Mr Tan added.

Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing said that regular updates will be provided on the economy and job situation, according to sectors, over the next few months.

Unions, trade associations and employers will be involved in the collective effort, and the Government will discuss with these industry players how they can work together to get Singapore through the crisis, he added.

Mrs Teo also added that the Government will provide weekly updates on jobs opportunities, retrenchments or cost savings measures taken by firms, so as to provide the public with a comprehensive understanding of the labour market.

Responding to a question on whether there will be further plans to support companies and the labour market by extending the Jobs Support Scheme, Mrs Teo said that the Government is "looking actively" at whether broad-based support continues to be needed.

She added that Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat, who is also Finance Minister, will be addressing this "quite soon".

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