SINGAPORE: More than 270,000 Singaporeans and permanent residents have been hired with support from the Jobs Growth Incentive (JGI) as of February, said Manpower Minister Tan See Leng on Wednesday (Jul 14).
He added that half of the 270,000 JGI-supported hires were not employed at the point of hire, and about one-third had been out of work for more than six months.
About six in 10 were previously employed in a different sector, said the Ministry of Manpower (MOM).
Older workers were also being hired, with workers aged 40 and above making up close to half of JGI-supported hires. One-third were aged 50 and above, said MOM.
Dr Tan added that six in 10 of the workers hired earned the same or a higher wage compared to their previous jobs.
"It is very clear that this group of employers ... were willing to look beyond the 'plug-and-play' type of workers," said Dr Tan, who spoke to reporters in a virtual press conference while on a visit to The Social Kitchen, a food and beverage social enterprise.
"They were more open to hiring workers from different sectors who may not have the obvious perfect fit, the obvious relevant experience, but upon further inspection, upon further review and consideration, they find that these workers actually possess very valuable, very precious, transferable skill sets."
The JGI wage subsidy scheme was introduced in August last year to encourage employers to expand local hiring. The Government subsidises up to 25 per cent of the first S$5,000 of an eligible employee's salary for up to 12 months.
Employers who hire mature local workers (aged 40 and above), people with disabilities and ex-offenders can get 50 per cent of the first S$6,000 of gross monthly income for up to 18 months.
To be eligible, the employer has to have more local workers on its payroll in total. The scheme has been extended to September.
FOUR IN 10 JOINED GROWTH SECTORS
Four in 10 of the 270,000 JGI-supported hires were in growth sectors, such as wholesale trade, professional services and information and communications.
JGI also continued to support the recovery in the food services and retail sectors – employers in these sectors hired one in five of all JGI hires.
The workers who have benefited were hired by 42,000 businesses, most of which (99 per cent) were small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), said MOM.
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About half of the businesses hired one to two local workers, while the remaining half hired more than two workers, the ministry said.
MOM said that the resident unemployment rate has fallen from 4.8 per cent in September 2020 to 4.1 per cent in February 2021.
When asked by a reporter whether locals were filling new jobs or jobs previously held by foreign workers, and if the job roles will be "permanently held by Singaporeans", Dr Tan said: "I think these jobs are going to be, over the longer term, sustainable.
"There are new jobs that are being created, there are new opportunities being created, and it is a function also of our own citizens, making a sustained effort ... to make sure that they are able to upskill themselves."
He added: "The entire focus of the JGI is meant and designed for Singaporeans so it's very unlikely that ... this will transition significantly into foreigners coming to take on these jobs, unless the Singaporeans themselves decide to exit these jobs."
HIRING OF PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES
MOM said that the JGI also supported the hiring of more than 1,600 persons with disabilities (PwDs) as of February.
"This includes PwDs who may have been out of the labour force, but are now able to find a job with the support of progressive employers," the ministry said.
About six in 10 were not employed at the point of hire, of which more than half had been out of work for more than six months, it added.
Dr Tan said that he was "heartened" to see that employers have hired more than 1,600 people with disabilities.
"We really appreciate employers like The Social Kitchen and many more who are willing to give our workers with disabilities ... the opportunity to work in a team that (has) a very positive, very nurturing spirit and environment, and to help them develop their skills and also to help them fit into the broader society."
Since Mar 1, JGI-eligible employers who hire people with disabilities can receive enhanced salary support of up to 50 per cent of the first $6,000 of their monthly salary over 18 months.
In addition, they receive the Enabling Employment Credit introduced on Jan 1, on top of the JGI. The EEC provides wage offsets for each Singaporean PwD earning below S$4,000 per month.