By: 永久浪客/Forever Vagabond
The figures in Thursday’s MOM labour market report show that rising unemployment and layoffs in the first half of this year have hit a 7-year high. Job vacancies have also dropped below the number of job seekers for the first time since 2012.
Responding to the dismal labour figures, Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say told reporters yesterday that his ministry is prepared for the worst. As industries transform swiftly, the pace of retrenchment may quicken, he said.
He believes that the major problem has been job mismatch. He hopes that the Singapore Workforce Development Agency’s (WDA) online career fair, its first, can better connect job seekers.
But Mr Lim also said that Singaporean workers need to do their part. He wants Singaporean job seekers to join government platforms, which are supposed to help them to get jobs. “Our efforts aren’t enough. We need job seekers to step forward to join the platform we are creating and, more importantly, be prepared to adapt,” he said.
One of the platforms created is the WDA Jobs Bank. It is a free service provided to companies and local individuals, including PRs. It is supposed to help facilitate online job matching between local job seekers and employers.
“It is a self-help platform and will also support WDA’s career services and allow WDA to reach out to a wider pool of local job seekers beyond its career centres,” the Jobs Bank website stated.
But most importantly, it mandates that any companies which want to employ foreigners must advertise on the Jobs Bank for 14 days first before they can apply work passes for them to work here. The rationale is that, in this way, the companies may give a chance to our locals to be employed first.
“WDA JobsBank is USELESS!”
However, many of our locals who have used the government’s Jobs Bank platform to find jobs have condemned it. One, who has been out of job, wrote on his blog in Apr this year, “WDA JobsBank is USELESS! I was foolish to believe I can find a job through this!”
“Applied jobs using this since September (2015), up till now now even a single call! What a waste of time!” he added.
On HWZ, there are more discussions under ‘Who found job through WDA Jobsbank?‘:
popdod: Apply. But No news, no sound, no reply.
UknowIknow: Put for show nia la.
Slideryuri: Same here…. last time I used it to apply jobs, click apply on my jobs, no emal reply, no phone calls being offered for any of the jobs. nothing…. zero
Arsenal_Wenger: This website is well known to be a farce. Tried applying for jobs many times and none was I called up. Do not bother about this website
Entry Level PC: I got job interview from my application from jobsbank but did not manage to get the job.
dxdx999: Pretty much useless Had the lowest hit rate for jobsbank, with only 1 asking me down for an interview. The other portals were much much better.
matchy: so far got one indian call me only…
SOS9112001: Applied a job that has 100 vacancies and 28 applicants. More than 2 weeks has passed, still no news from them.
Revelation from an insider
One HWZ reader, Savantrainmaker, revealed a disturbing story.
He recalled seeing a posting advertising for “Head of Asia-Pacific Ops” for an MNC in his industry on Jobs Bank. This position would report to a Global Head in Switzerland, which means it is likely to be a Swiss MNC.
He then alerted his friend who is out of job, about the job opening, “Just nice. I knew an industry veteran who’s doing a similar role and more than capable of doing this role. He’s Singaporean who lost out in the political fight at his firm – another global MNC. So I told him to give it a shot, which he did.”
“Two weeks ago, I met up with this bloke who was still unemployed and stressed out because he has two kids – one in primary school and the other in pre-school – and asked if he did nab the job at this MNC, which I knew the name since it’s in my industry,” he continued.
“To my surprise, he feedback that he was not even called up for interview.”
But because the reader is in the industry, he then made some enquiries as to who got the job. “I was curious and did my informal checks with industry-friends in that firm, which has its AP-HQ at MBFC,” he said (MBFC is situated in Marina Bay near Shenton Way).
“It was then that I found out that the role was just filled up by an European recently.”
“So this single episode made me really wonder if this JobBank thingy is really serving its purpose or just a rubber-stamp for MNC firms to bring in more FTs, when there are already many qualified Singaporeans who could fill the role,” the reader lamented.
“WDA should publish their statistics of how many qualified Singaporeans were interviewed and not selected before the MNC firms decide to pick a FT to fill the role.”
The reader is not alone in wanting WDA to be more transparent about the performance of its Jobs Bank. Even one PAP MP is asking the same question.
Last year, West Coast GRC MP and NTUC Assistant Secretary-General Patrick Tay commented on the Jobs Bank in a media interview, “Now the question is whether just by having that advertising requirement is sufficient to nudge employers to take the bold step to hire more Singaporean PMEs because it’s just a mere advertising requirement; there’s no requirement for employers to share placement figures.”
“We do not have data on rates of placement for some of these jobs advertised in the jobs bank,” he added.
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