Coronavirus: Workers and jobs

Plans to bring more job fairs to the heartland

e2i working to reach Singaporeans nearer to their homes; over 20 such events in Aug

Job seekers at a job fair at Chong Pang Community Club yesterday, which drew some 160 Singaporeans. The fair offered job seekers career advice and on-the-spot interviews with potential employers.
Job seekers at a job fair at Chong Pang Community Club yesterday, which drew some 160 Singaporeans. The fair offered job seekers career advice and on-the-spot interviews with potential employers.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

Plans to bring more job fairs to the heartland are in the works, even as the Covid-19 pandemic takes a toll on the labour market.

The National Trades Union Congress' Employment and Employability Institute (e2i) has been working with community partners, including agencies and employers, to bring job and training opportunities to Singaporeans nearer their homes, e2i chief executive Gilbert Tan told The Straits Times.

This month alone, there are more than 20 such events across Singapore, in locations such as Admiralty, Bishan and Taman Jurong.

Yesterday, a job fair was held by the institute at Chong Pang Community Club which saw some 160 Singaporeans turning up to seek employment help. There were more than 1,600 vacancies available, including for housekeepers, business analysts, inventory controllers, security officers and manufacturing specialists.

While some companies are laying off staff or have stopped hiring due to the impact of the pandemic, there are others that need staff.

Certain sectors such as early childhood education, built environment, transport and logistics are showing a stronger hiring demand, said Mr Tan, adding that a good mix of full-time, part-time and temporary job roles is available at these job fairs.

"We work with partners from different sectors seeking to hire Singaporeans to curate job vacancies and bring participating employers and job seekers together."

Yesterday's job fair - the first of five organised by the e2i in Nee Soon GRC - offered job seekers career advice and on-the-spot interviews with potential employers, which come from sectors such as security, retail, healthcare and manufacturing. The remaining four job fairs will be held in other parts of Nee Soon over the next few months.

Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam, who attended yesterday's event, said the focus has always been on ensuring that Singaporeans have jobs. "Without jobs, you can't look after yourself. You can't look after your family," added Mr Shanmugam, who is also an MP for Nee Soon GRC.

Many job seekers who attended the event went from one booth to another to speak with participating employers, which included Aetos Holdings, Cold Storage Singapore, Indoguna and All Saints Home.

Gourmet food provider Indoguna said it has been looking to fill the positions of workers who have left, as well as the new roles created.

"While we are trying to meet our resource requirements, our priority is the Singapore core," it added.

Security firm Aetos Holdings said it has been actively recruiting and helping affected Singaporeans by offering them part-time and full-time positions as auxiliary police officers or security officers since the pandemic started.

One job seeker, Mr Lim Kim Hung, a manager at a disco at Golden Mile Complex, has not worked for the past five months. Nightclubs and discos have been shut since late March to help stem the spread of Covid-19.

"There is no certainty as to when operating restrictions would be lifted," the 56-year-old, who applied for a cleaning job, said in Mandarin. "Instead of staying at home, I felt that I should come here and find another job."

Another job applicant, Mr John Ong, said he has sent out more than 30 job applications and had a few interviews since he was retrenched from a travel firm a month ago.

The 30-year-old former auditor, who turned up at the job fair in office attire, has applied for a business analyst role at Cold Storage.

"It has been tough finding a job. Many companies have a hiring freeze," he said. "So I have decided to be proactive and see if there are job opportunities out there."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 21, 2020, with the headline 'Plans to bring more job fairs to the heartland'. Subscribe