SINGAPORE: As technological, political and demographic challenges continue to upend jobs and employment, the Government plans to steel all workers against future disruption by improving their career mobility, said Manpower Minister Josephine Teo on Tuesday (Apr 16).
Speaking at the Manpower Ministry’s annual seminar, which charts out the key agenda for the year ahead, Mrs Teo said that apart from senior workers and professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs), those who are “neither senior, jobless or at risk of losing their jobs” will also be looked at under its Adapt and Grow initiative.
Last year, Adapt and Grow assisted 30,000 job seekers. Among them, 40 per cent were still in work.
“So, we were very interested to understand what this 40 per cent were looking for. It became very clear that people may be quite happy with their current work but they are also looking for opportunities to advance,” Mrs Teo said.
“If we look into the future, we expect that people may find that there are opportunities opening up that have nothing to do with their current jobs ... or their current industry. How we can help them access these new opportunities will become increasingly prominent."
Existing programmes like mycareersfuture can help with that, she said. However, some may be looking for more help in terms of networking, skills training, and guidance to enter new occupations and sectors.
The Government also wants to work with employers to identify potential areas that will be disrupted in the future and intervene earlier by preparing workers for that future.
Currently, this is being in done through Professional Conversion Programmes such as those undertaken by banks to reskill banking staff.
She added that employers “must come on board” and realise that they can also play a part in giving everyone a chance at career mobility.
They can be open to workers who may not be a perfect fit from day one but have the right attitude.
They can also continually transform their business and be willing to invest in training. Lastly, employers can also reward and recognise the effort of employees, she said.
By gaining new skills, workers can unlock opportunities to move across jobs and industries to ensure relevance even before their jobs get displaced, she said, and this is akin to educational mobility.
“If students should have multiple pathways to advance while in education, it is even more important that working people have multiple career tracks that are rewarding,” said Mrs Teo.
CONTINUED HELP FOR SENIOR WORKERS & PMETs
For the growing senior workforce, Mrs Teo said that the Government will continue to support senior employment through existing grants and wage support schemes such as WorkPro and the Special and Additional Special Employment Credit Scheme.
Mrs Teo also updated that the Tripartite Workgroup on Older Workers already has a “resolution in sight” for its study revising the retirement age and re-employment age upwards. More details, she said, will be available later this year.
“These initiatives improve the career mobility of our seniors. Older workers would be more employable and they have more options when they reach the retirement age and re-employment age,” she said.
Turning her attention to white collar workers, Mrs Teo said that the Government will continue its push to help PMETs adapt to technological change.
Through programmes like SkillsFuture and Adapt and Grow, workers can stay meaningfully employed or advanced in their careers, she said.
“In essence, Adapt and Grow is about giving our people the opportunity to move up and do better in their careers, whatever their starting points and at different stages of their lives,” she said.
"There will be times when we feel quite overwhelmed by all the adjustments we must make but more so than people in many other countries, I am convinced that Singaporeans have what it takes to walk the tech journey together successfully."