- POSTED: 29 Sep 2013 17:31
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Older Singaporeans and those who are seeking to rejoin the workforce after having been economically inactive for some time can look forward to some 3,000 jobs being offered by over 340 companies.
SINGAPORE: More companies are taking on progressive HR policies to hire older and back-to-work Singaporeans since a government incentive was launched in April.
The scheme, known as WorkPro, has been taken up by 340 companies so far, said the Workforce Development Agency (WDA).
WorkPro, which was launched by the WDA and the Ministry of Manpower in April 2013, aims to develop a core Singaporean workforce that is competitive and employable.
It funds efforts by firms to redesign jobs, or make them flexible for mature workers and women who are returning to the workforce.
Some 3,000 jobs targeting these groups of Singaporeans were on offer at a jobs fair on Sunday.
Kim Soh, a mother-of-two, had started looking for an office job with flexible hours three months ago.
She said: "So far, the response is not so good -- only a few of them (responded, and they're) mostly insurance (companies). I'm not keen on insurance."
With Singaporeans like her in mind, the WorkPro scheme offers a range of grants for businesses, including one that makes their hiring and operations more family-friendly.
There is also a training allowance for companies that give new employees on-the-job training.
Job seeker Kim Soh said: "If there's a chance, I don't mind (the training) -- it's good to update yourself."
Over 300 job seekers were drawn to Sunday's WorkPro job fair at Hong Kah North Community Centre.
Thirteen companies had set up booths, offering some 2,600 jobs, ranging from manufacturing, security, to F&B.
The F&B and retail services industry is going through a manpower crunch, so it's no surprise that many of the jobs on offer are from that sector. But some of the job seekers said the salaries may not be attractive enough for them to want to join the industry.
With government help, some HR firms said changes are taking place.
Parmjit Kaur, vice-president of HR at Harry's Holdings, said: "I suppose it is not really a desired industry for Singaporeans. However, this has to change.
"So we are increasing the salaries, we are increasing the benefits, we're making it into a very attractive industry. So with all the different initiatives coming in, I think we'll be able to achieve that."
More recently, the Manpower Ministry announced a set of new employment rules to ensure that Singaporeans get fair consideration before foreigners are hired.
Speaking to reporters at the job fair, Senior Minister of State for Manpower Amy Khor said the new rules target employers whose hiring practices are "less than progressive".
Dr Khor said: "There are also perceptions that some employers are hiring their own kind. So I think we need to send a strong signal and send a reminder to employers that they need to hire fairly, give fair consideration to Singaporeans -- that's why we're putting that in place."
Together with incentives like WorkPro, these changes are part of a larger effort to develop a core Singaporean workforce.