Singapore

MOM will focus on overcoming skills gaps as new jobs loom

The jobs that will appear in Singapore's post-recession economy are likely to be different from those that vanished in the slump, and may be in fields that displaced workers are not familiar with.

For this reason, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) will focus on overcoming skills gaps to give employers confidence to take on new hires and trainees, said Manpower Minister Josephine Teo yesterday.

This will be reinforced by the support schemes in place, she added, citing the Jobs Growth Incentive which spurs employers to hire more locals, the SGUnited traineeship and mid-career pathways programmes, as well as professional conversion programmes and skills upgrading programmes.

She also said her ministry is taking a very close look at possible ways to continuously refine and enhance these schemes "to better support the need to close the gaps between what employers are looking for and what job seekers have to offer".

The minister was speaking at a press conference on the preliminary mid-year data on the labour force.

NECESSARY STEPS

These steps are necessary as Singapore returns to a path of job growth in the current phase of recovery, and MOM will work with other agencies to ensure economic activities return and have the chance to expand, because only then can job opportunities have the scope to grow.

Employment of local residents - Singaporeans and permanent residents - rebounded in the third quarter, and Singapore must build on the gains even as some support measures like the Jobs Support Scheme taper off, she added.

Although retrenchments and unemployment rates rose due to the Covid-19 pandemic, cooperation among unions, employers and the Government helped lessen its impact on local employment rates at its peak, she said, noting their positive responses.

Unions and workers accepted wage cuts, increased training and redeployments while employers strove to retain their local workforce as the Government rolled out schemes such as the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package. - THE STRAITS TIMES

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Employment