SINGAPORE: The Government will look into doing more to strengthen job market information, so job seekers are more aware of where vacancies are, and employers know where to find workers.
Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say said this in response to one of the suggestions that emerged from an SGfuture dialogue session that he facilitated on Saturday (Mar 5).
Participants at the dialogue were discussing their experiences with the Manpower Minister, with some raising suggestions ranging from encouraging an entrepreneurial spirit among mid-career workers, to tackling imperfect information in the job market.
This is an area that Mr Lim said the Government can do more in.
"They felt one of the biggest frustrations is this imperfect information,” said Mr Lim, speaking to media after the event. “So when workers are looking for jobs, they have no idea where are the jobs. Then when companies are looking for workers, they have no idea where are the workers available.
“I would say, this in a way, is one area where we can do a lot more to strengthen the market information so that job seekers and the employers looking for workers can create a platform. So they can know the source of supply, the source of demand much better.
“And I think we do have a foundation for that, because over the last one and a half years or so, we have established this National Jobs Bank. I think the National Jobs Bank can provide the basic platform for us to nurture further into a platform whereby job seekers, as well as employers looking for workers, can come together, become a marketplace, bringing the supply of jobs and supply of workers coming together.
“In other words, can we enable more data analytics to be performed using the jobs bank as a platform?"
EXPERIENCING THE JOB HUNT
While it may be the weekend, the 65 participants of the session were “put to work” in a make believe job market, designed to help them understand the challenge of job-matching in the real world. Each took on a role either as job seeker or employer.
Job-seekers were given a card stating their capabilities in four areas, including their health and technical skills. Each capability was rated between one and three stars. Employers also had cards listing out job requirements. A job is a match if what the job-seeker has is equal to or more than what the job requires.
Participants, pretending to be job seekers and employers, were given cards to try and match capability requirements for specific jobs. (Photo: Olivia Siong)
However, things as in life, are not so simple.
For example, participants had to deal with a mismatch in expectations or a company going bust. They also got to experience the plus side of training or job re-design.
"It's really very real,” said 32-year-old Smith Leong, who runs a start-up. “So a lot of times, people come into our company, they ask for a job, they expect a lot, especially fresh grads, we call them the ‘strawberry generation’, they expect a lot out of it. But sometimes they just don't fit the build in terms of skillset, or in terms of mentality as well."
"As employees, we should be more open. In terms of sometimes adjusting our expectations and also constantly looking at upgrading ourselves," said 45-year-old Karen Hee, a consultant.