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Targeted jobs portals aim to help senior citizens, mums and students

TODAY reports: Over the past few years, more customised employment search portals have sprung up to cater to the needs of job seekers with specific requirements. 

SINGAPORE: According to Ministry of Manpower data for the third quarter of last year, nearly 55 per cent of Singapore residents made redundant in the previous quarter were able to find a new job within six months – meaning that 45 per cent took longer than six months to land a new job.

If it is difficult for the average jobseeker to land a job, it may be even more so for working mothers seeking flexible working arrangements, senior citizens competing with younger men and women who are also looking for work and young adults with zero working experience.

While there are many major online hiring portals such as jobsDB and LinkedIn that have helped many find their dream jobs, it can be difficult for jobseekers with specific requirements to find the right job. 

More customised employment search portals, however, have emerged to cater to senior citizens, mothers and other niche groups of workers over the past few years.

FOR SENIORS

Championing the employment of mature jobseekers is Silver Spring, which helps professionals, managers and executives (PMEs) between the ages of 40 and 70 consider re-career options or resume their careers. The social enterprise was founded by Ms Helen Lim, 69, who set up the jobs portal segment in 2012.

Ms Lim said that in more recent years there have been better opportunities for more mature jobseekers, aligned with various measures the government had taken to encourage the employment of seniors.

"Silver Spring job portal started mainly to invite mature PME jobseekers (those restructured out of organisations) to see how we can help them get ready for their next career,” she added.

Candidates on the portal generally have a diploma as a minimum qualification, while many have degrees and post-graduate qualifications. Some have also had experience working in multi-national corporations, according to Ms Lim. 

“There is also a unique group of school-leavers in their mid-50s onwards who have grown well in their organisations to managerial levels. This group, when retrenched, faces more challenges getting another corporate job with no paper qualification to support them,” Ms Lim said.

The website, which now has close to 2,000 candidates, offers full-time, part-time and contract positions across a wide range of roles such as for managers, senior accountants, security supervisors, senior executives and senior IT business analysts.

“So far, we are managing well with monthly salaries in the S$5,000 to over S$10,000 range on full-time basis. For admin and short-term contracts, we also manage job roles with salaries in the S$2,000 to S$3,000 range,” Ms Lim said.

It is still a work in progress to get more employers to consider mature jobseekers to fill their vacancies, Ms Lim noted. “We hope to co-create with more employers to give space and opportunity to have a more diverse workplace, (with) some mature jobseekers to stabilise the workplace, contribute effectively and mentor younger colleagues with deeper problem-solving skills.”

The current organisations that contact Silver Spring for candidates are growing small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), Ms Lim said, as SMEs “see the value in having some mature silver talents in their workplace”.

FOR MOTHERS

For working mothers, Mums@Work strives to help women find a balance between being a mother and being part of the workforce. It was set up by Mrs Sher-Li Torrey, 38, who had found it difficult to find a job offering the kind of flexibility she needed after she became a mother.

The site now has close to 26,500 strong members, with Singaporeans or permanent residents making up about 93 per cent of these. 

“Women (in particular mothers) tend to be the caregivers in families. For this reason, their desire to have work-family balance would be greater than some other groups. Mums@Work is a portal specifically for mothers who want work-family balance. Only flexible work arrangements are accepted (part-time, contractual, freelance, project basis, work from home, flexible hours),” said Mrs Torrey.

The website offers job listings in fields such as finance, administration, marketing, operations and law. All positions require a minimum criteria of diploma qualifications.

INTERNSHIPS

Meanwhile, Glints is a site that caters solely to young adults looking for internships. Founded in 2013 by three youths who started the site as a side project, the portal “accidentally” grew into a business because of demand from the market.

The portal offers internships and entry-level to junior positions for all job categories. The website claims to have a 75 per cent success rate in matching the right candidates to companies in four weeks, and says that in the past 12 months, its user base has grown 7.5 times.

The website recently announced a partnership with Ngee Ann Polytechnic, a move which will allow the 16,000 students in the polytechnic to gain access to their site, whilst allowing local companies easier access to a greater pool of talent.

“We realised that the real problem that young people faced is not that they cannot find internships and jobs, but that they don’t really know what career paths they want to take, and what skillsets they require,” said Mr Oswald Yeo, co-founder and CEO of Glints.

The portal therefore serves to help young people explore different career paths and guide them to acquire industry-relevant skills. “Applicants benefit from the live chat consultations on the platform for career guidance and special recommendation to good opportunities,” Mr Yeo added.

TEMPORARY WORK

Over at Singapore Part Time Jobs, the platform provides jobs for those seeking ad-hoc offers. Job applicants range from the age of 16 to retirees.

Founder Mr Gabriel Dipankar Subba, 43, created the site after the birth of his daughter. He wanted to find a temporary job that would allow him to spend more time with his child. He felt that it was “cumbersome” to look through mainstream portals as they catered more for full-time work.

“As my background was in IT, I decided to put together a site and list part-time jobs from various sources. The site quickly became popular.”

Currently, the Web portal has about 54,000 jobseekers in the database, a bulk of which comes from the company’s Facebook page. The jobs available include administrative, customer service, food and beverage to retail and sales.

“The total number of companies we have served over the years is approximately 500. They are mostly small companies, but we have also served well-known organisations and start-ups like Killiney Kopitiam, The American Club, Uber, Kumon, Mind Stretcher, Sing Gas, Suntec, Smoothie King and Madame Tussauds to name a few,” Mr Subba added.

“Since our ratio of jobseekers to employers is high, the success rate has been very good. The employers always receive a considerable number of applicants,” Mr Subba said. “Mainstream portals are good for full-time jobs but we do a great job helping employers source part-timers.” 

Read the original TODAY report here