More Help For Singaporean Workers
Workforce Singapore (WSG) is a statutory body set up under the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) to oversee the transformation of the local workforce and industry to meet ongoing economic challenges. Its aim is to help promote the development, competitiveness, inclusiveness and employability of all levels of the workforce to ensure all sectors of the economy are supported by a strong, inclusive Singaporean core. WSG also provides support to enable manpower-lean enterprises to remain competitive and help businesses in different economic sectors create quality jobs, develop a manpower pipeline to support industry growth and match the right people or Singaporean workers to the right jobs.
In 2007, the Professional Conversion Programme (PCP) was launched to provide training and wage support to professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs), switching careers. The PCP helps jobseekers reskill and acquire the necessary knowledge and competencies to take on new jobs. Some programmes include a work attachment, which enables individuals to acquire real experience in the field. This enhances the employability of job seekers such as mid-career individuals and gives them the necessary competencies to take on new jobs with greater confidence. In February 2017, Singapore’s Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say said there had been a 20 per cent rise in workers landing new jobs through the PCP programmes in 2016, up from 2015. “The improved success rate is real encouraging,” he said.
Recently, Lim announced in Parliament that the PCP will be beefed up and that the programme would continue to subsidise 70 per cent of the monthly pay of those undergoing career conversion. However, he said the subsidy cap would be raised from $2,000 to $4,000 monthly, which means the programme can support employers who hire the PMETs at $5,700 a month. Labelling the move as among the initiatives taken by the government to help workers find jobs and equip them with the skills to do them. “Employers who hire those who are 40 years and above or those who have been unemployed for more than six months will get a higher subsidy,” he said. He said they will receive a 90 per cent subsidy of the monthly pay at a higher cap of $6,000 – up from $4,000 a month. “At 90 per cent wage support, we can now support mid-level jobs up to $6,700 of salary,” added Lim. Other measure announced include:
– An Attach and Train programme
Under this programme, workers can join companies for training attachments without the firms having to hire them. The workers will receive training allowances amounting between 50 and 70 per cent of salaries for the jobs they are being trained in, capped at $4,000 a month. The pilot programme will be launched in the logistics sector, while other sectors being considered to include Infocomm, healthcare and biologics.
– Work Trial programme
This initiative will allow workers to try a new job for a period of time and will be extended from two weeks to three months.
– Higher Wage Subsidies
Employers who hire retrenched older PMETs, aged 40 and above or those who have been unemployed for more than a year will get higher wage subsidies. The salary support will also be extended from 12 to 18 months and translates to up to $42,000 over 18 months. PMETs aged 40 to 49 who are made redundant or unemployed for six months will get wage support doubled, up to $25,200 over 12 months.
– Minimum Salary Lowered
The minimum salary of workers for companies to join the Career Support Programme will be lowered from $4,000 to $3,600 per month for small- and medium-sized enterprises. This is for them to be able to also take part in the scheme.
Lim also announced that the government-run National Jobs Bank will become one-stop jobs and skills online portal, with more self-help tools for users. Jobs Bank is an online job portal managed by WSG that facilitates job-matching opportunities between employers and local job seekers. Its key objective is to improve the visibility of job opportunities for local job seekers and provide employers with an avenue to consider suitable local candidates.