Singapore

Job market showing signs for optimism in 2021: Ng Chee Meng

The job market has shown signs for optimism next year, although some sectors will remain in the doldrums, labour chief Ng Chee Meng said yesterday.

The aviation and aerospace sectors, engineering clusters that support those sectors, as well as hospitality and tourism, are likely to stay muted, he said, noting that these are areas in "survival and sustainability modes".

But others like healthcare, biotech and logistics should trend positively overall, he said, while acknowledging that the local and global health situation will be a big factor in determining how the economy recovers from its low base this year.

"Generally, most workers, most businesses will see the uptick," Mr Ng said at a Straits Times webinar on job losses and opportunities in 2021. ST assistant news editor Toh Yong Chuan moderated the event.

The National Trades Union Congress' strategy for workers is to make them future-proof by keeping up with technology developments and adapting to the new skills required in the current landscape, he said.

"So whether you are in a challenged sector or in a growth sector, I would say, have a growth mindset regardless," Mr Ng said when he urged workers to seek out training opportunities to expand their skill sets to adapt to 2021 and beyond.

Echoing this view, Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF) president Robert Yap said: "If (workers are) open minded, they adopt lifelong learning, are willing to skill and reskill, I think there is no problem in Singaporeans finding jobs."

Both Mr Ng and Mr Yap also stressed that while workers need to constantly improve themselves, employers too must embrace transformation, in terms of evolving both their work processes as well as work environments.

Mr Yap said SNEF has been looking at how to transform workplaces so that they are age-friendly, so that older workers remain relevant and companies can also take in older workers who are willing to be retrained.

Employment