Business & Economy Josephine Teo: Jobseekers, employers need more openness, flexibility to ensure better job...

Josephine Teo: Jobseekers, employers need more openness, flexibility to ensure better job matches

The Manpower Minister said that although it is natural for people to look for employment in industries that they were already familiar with there maybe better opportunities elsewhere

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Singapore—In response to figures from the latest Labour Market Report showing a slight increase in unemployment, Manpower Minister Josephine Teo said that in order to close the gap between job vacancies and jobseekers, both employers and would-be hirees need to be “more open and flexible.”

In a Facebook post Ms Teo wrote on Thursday, October 24, the same day that the Ministry of Manpower released its Labour Market Report Advance Release for the third quarter of 2019, the Manpower Minister explained the “mixed picture” that figures from the report showed.

“Preliminary data painted a mixed picture. Total employment growth was higher than the previous quarter and a year ago. But unemployment and retrenchments also inched up. Employment growth was fairly broad-based led by sectors such as Community, Social & Personal Services, Professional Services, and Information & Communications. Many vacancies remain.”

It was stated in the MOM report that the higher unemployment rate may partly be due to a mismatch in the labour market. “The increase in unemployment rates occurred when there were still vacancies available. This suggests some mismatch in the labour market.”

Ms Teo clarified this further, writing, “This suggests that mismatches are widening. It could be jobseekers not having the skills to access available jobs, or jobs being insufficiently attractive. Closing the gaps require both jobseekers and employers to be more open and flexible.”

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Posted by Josephine Teo on Wednesday, October 23, 2019

The Manpower Minister further said that it is natural for people looking for employment to wish to find work in the industry that they’ve been working in.

But she asserts that “The better opportunities may however lie elsewhere.”

And for would-be employees to find these opportunities, “some training and adjustment may be needed,” Ms Teo added.

She said that “thousands of jobseekers each year successfully make the transition” to other jobs through Workforce Singapore (WSG)’s assistance.

As for employers, Ms Teo wrote that more have been willing “to train and take in mid-career candidates” which has resulted in higher rates of employment for older Singaporeans. Furthermore, in this aspect, the country is catching up the rate in OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) nations.

“There are more than 100 Professional Conversion Programmes in over 30 sectors. These come with training and salary support, and higher funding for those aged 40 and above.

Employers can also tap on the Career Support Programme to widen the pool of available jobseekers to meet your manpower needs.”

Ms Teo added a link to the website of Workforce Singapore – WSG (www.adaptandgrow.sg) for netizens to find out about more available support.

Data from the Labour Market Report shows that Singapore’s overall unemployment rate rose slightly in this year’s third quarter.

The latest overall unemployment rate is at 2.3 percent, which is seasonally adjusted, showing an increase from the second quarter’s 2.2 percent. Among residents, this rise in percentage is reflected as well, going up to 3.2 percent in the third quarter from 3.1 percent in the second quarter.

Unemployment among citizens rose as well, from 3.2 percent in Q2 to 3.3 in Q3.

In comparison to 2018’s figures, the overall unemployment rate for Q3 was up by 0.2 percent.

However, the figure for total employment for Q3 is actually higher, excluding foreign domestic workers. Total employment has grown by 22,400, which is significantly higher than 6,200 in Q2, and 16,700 for the same time period last year. -/TISG

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