SINGAPORE: Close to 44,000 job seekers, including those who require specialised assistance, have found jobs through career matching services under SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package as at end-July, said Manpower Minister Tan See Leng on Tuesday (Oct 5).
Responding to questions on employment support and job matching efforts from members of Parliament (MPs) Liang Eng Hwa (PAP-Bukit Panjang), Mr Yip Hon Weng (PAP-Yio Chu Kang) and Mr Edward Chia (PAP-Holland-Bukit Timah), Dr Tan said that these workers include mature workers aged 40 and above, persons with disabilities as well as those who have been unemployed for at least six months.
In March, the Manpower Ministry (MOM) appointed employment agency Adecco Personnel as a placement partner to help local job seekers secure opportunities under the S$2.2 billion SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package.
Adecco offers an avenue for local job seekers who require more specialised assistance to access professional career matching services and opportunities, catered to their skills and aspirations.
Workforce Singapore (WSG) and NTUC’s Employment and Employability Institute (e2i) have also expanded their service touchpoints, with 24 new SGUnited Jobs and Skills Centres established islandwide, in every HDB town.
Since the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package was launched in April last year, Dr Tan said that it has helped to cushion the impact of COVID-19 with around 128,000 local job seekers placed into jobs and skills opportunities as at end-July.
EMPLOYMENT OF SENIORS
Meanwhile, the employment rate of those aged 65 and above increased to 28.5 per cent last year, up from 27.6 per cent in 2019.
Dr Tan added that despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the employment rate of those aged between 55 and 64 has held steady at more than 67 per cent.
“This is comparable to the average of the top three Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries,” he said, responding to questions on employment and re-employment support for senior workers from MPs Jessica Tan (PAP-East Coast) and Ms Yeo Wan Ling (PAP-Pasir Ris-Punggol).
The Government has allocated S$1.5 billion over three years to help support senior workers through the Senior Worker Support Package as well as the Senior Worker Early Adopter Grant and Part-time Re-employment Grant.
Last year, the government introduced a SkillsFuture Mid-Career Support Package to help mature and senior workers stay employable and take up new jobs or roles in the workplace.
“With employers continuing to re-skill their senior workers and making every effort to retain and hire them, with society supporting their choice to remain active in work, our seniors can continue to participate actively in all spheres of life,” he said.
FILLING UP JOB VACANCIES
Several MPs, including Mr Yip and Ms Hany Soh (PAP-Marsiling-Yew Tee), also asked about how job seekers were matched to job vacancies.
Last month, MOM released its Labour Market Report with data showing that job vacancies rose to a “record high” in June amid COVID-19 border restrictions and manpower shortages.
Dr Tan said if vacancies are accumulating and not filled, it indicates that the labour market is having difficulty finding the right talent for the vacancies.
With industries digitalising rapidly and digital competencies highly sought after, Dr Tan some vacancies persist because of a shortage of skills in the workforce and among job seekers.
Some vacancies could take longer to fill because the wage or working conditions are not as attractive as other options available to job seekers, he added.
“If they remain persistently unfilled, the business may need to redesign the job role, or even review their strategy,” he said, adding that job redesign support and grants are available for such companies.
However, a new jobs task force – set up last month – will work with tripartite partners and employers to make the labour market function “even better”, he said.
He added that the task force will coordinate efforts across key government agencies to enable more locals to take up in-demand jobs with good wages and prospects in key sectors such as financial services and info-communications and technology.