Don't just hire 'plug-and-play' workers: Manpower Minister
Manpower Minister tells employers to change mindsets in mismatched labour market
Employers should not be expecting to hire just plug-and-play workers in today's labour market conditions, said Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say yesterday.
"Don't keep looking for workers who can fit into your job 100 per cent because... the job market is moving very fast (and) the skills side (is) also changing very fast," he said, at an Adapt and Grow Series career fair at the Lifelong Learning Institute in Paya Lebar.
Organised by Workforce Singapore and NTUC's Employment and Employability Institute, the fair featured about 260 job vacancies, each paying at least $3,600 a month, from over 20 companies under the Career Support Programme (CSP).
Emphasising the need for employers and jobseekers to change mindsets to solve the problem of a mismatched labour market, Mr Lim said: "More jobseekers tell us that they recognise (the need) for retraining and to become more adaptable."
He added that more employers are now willing to consider workers who are not a perfect fit, and are prepared to have a go with the help of Government initiatives such as the CSP.
IT company Optimum Solutions chief executive officer Balwant Jain, whose firm had a booth at the fair, said it wants to hire 40 jobseekers, including those from outside the information technology sector.
"It's all about aptitude and wanting to learn. We understand some may not have IT backgrounds, but we will provide training to get them up to speed," he said.
Mr Jain said the latest employment initiativesand career fairs are helping to bring together employers and jobseekers who may otherwise be hesitant to apply for jobs outside their capabilities.
Mr Lim told Parliament earlier this month that mature professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) who have been jobless for more than a year will get 18 months of wage support under the CSP.
The CSP will be also extended to PMETs who have been unemployed for at least six months, regardless of age or whether they had been laid off, with the qualifying salary, currently set at $4,000, reduced to $3,600.
Yesterday's fair drew over 600 PMETs, including a former sales manager in his 50s who has been job-hunting for a year.
Wishing to be known only as Mr Peter, he told The New Paper he had attended about 20 career fairs and training courses, and even tried applying for jobs in other sectors.
"From my experience, many employers are still looking for those with experience in their sector. It's not that easy to switch," he said.
Another jobseeker with 20 years' experience in finance and business, who wanted to be known only as Mr Lim, 56, said he would have tothink about trying a different field.
"I want a job where I can find meaning, and not just try for every other job out there for the sake of trying," he said.
He said the latest initiatives and more targeted career fairs gave him hope of connecting with prospective employers.
Ministry of Manpower statistics released on Wednesday revealed last year's job market as the bleakest in years, with the highest number of degree holders facing long-term unemployment since 2004. The hardest hit were PMETs, who make up 72 per cent of local workers made redundant last year.