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About 3,600 opportunities in retail sector offered under SGUnited Jobs and Skills programme: MOM

About 3,600 opportunities in retail sector offered under SGUnited Jobs and Skills programme: MOM

Pedestrians wearing face masks at a busy street in Singapore's Orchard Road shopping district on Sep 4, 2020. (Photo: Marcus Mark Ramos)

SINGAPORE: More than 650 companies in the retail sector have offered close to 3,600 opportunities from April to end-September under the SG United Jobs and Skills programme, said the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) in its latest jobs situation report on Monday (Oct 12).

These include jobs, company-hosted traineeships and attachments, as well as training opportunities.

About 70 per cent of the opportunities offered were for jobs, said MOM, adding that 40 per cent of the job roles were professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMET) roles such as sales, marketing and business development managers, retail and wholesale trade managers and commercial and marketing sales executives.

The remaining 60 per cent of jobs were non-PMET roles, such as shop and store salespeople.

"These are necessary to meet immediate manpower needs for front-of-house operations as retail stores resumed post-circuit breaker," said MOM.

Many retail shops were shut during the circuit breaker as part of measures implemented to curb the spread of COVID-19.

(Chart: Ministry of Manpower)

READ: COVID-19: 24,000 offered jobs, work attachments under SGUnited package between March and July

"Major roles" in the retail sector can command salaries ranging from S$1,400 at the lower end of the salary range for non-PMET roles, to S$6,500 at the higher end of the salary range for PMET roles, said the manpower ministry.

(Chart: Ministry of Manpower)

These figures were released as part of a series of updates on the labour market.

Between April and September, 770 people were placed into jobs, enhanced roles, company-hosted traineeships and attachments, as well training opportunities in the retail sector, with 700 finding jobs or retaining their jobs in new or enhanced roles within retail.

A total of 70 job seekers have enrolled in company-hosted traineeships and attachments since Jun 1.

READ: COVID-19: Switching careers a challenge for some job seekers despite opportunities

IMPROVING JOB SEEKERS’ SKILLS

In September, Workforce Singapore (WSG) reached out to about 13,600 job seekers through walk-in interviews, career workshops and seminars, as well as SGUnited Jobs and Skills information kiosks and the SGUnited Jobs and Skills series.

"To increase the number of successful matches to opportunities in the retail sector, employers and job seekers can tap on various government initiatives to close skills gaps," said MOM.

These initiatives include the Professional Conversion Programme (PCP), P-Max Programme and Career Trial and the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package.

For example, given the increase in demand for digital professionals in the sector,  employers hiring mid-career individuals can participate in the six-month-long PCP for digital professionals. Jobseekers less familiar with customer-facing roles can also participate in the PCP for retail professionals.

READ: About 6,700 opportunities offered in food sector since April amid COVID-19 pandemic: MOM

As of end-August, more than 550 existing workers across 37 retailers have been, or are being, trained and redeployed into new or higher-value job roles through the WSG's Job Redesign Reskilling Programme.

This programme was rolled out in October 2019, and supports "retailers' redesign and business transformation efforts", said MOM, adding that it was enhanced in February this year to "address the changing market conditions due to COVID-19”.

"This initiative has helped to moderate retrenchments while helping retailers retain experienced staff," said the ministry.

Of these 550 workers, 40 per cent of them will receive a committed wage increment from employers after completing the training, and employers have committed to reviewing the wages for the remaining 60 per cent after the COVID-19 situation has stabilised.

READ: 33,100 job seekers placed into jobs, traineeships and training opportunities under SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package

SUPPORTING EMPLOYMENT OF SENIORS

Nearly one in three people employed in retail is aged 55 and above, making it "one of the top sectors employing senior workers", said MOM.

"To promote age-friendly HR practices, funding support of uap to S$375,000 is available to each employer through the Senior Worker Early Adopter Grnt and Part-time Re-employment Grant," added the ministry.

Image: Ministry of Manpower

The grants were introduced as part of the S$1.3 billion Senior Worker Support Package. Applications for the grants opened on Jul 1. 

In the first three months of applications, close to 650 firms and 440 companies applied for the Senior Worker Early Adopter Grant and the Part-time Re-employment Grant respectively.

Almost all were small- or medium-sized enterprises, including those in the retail sector, said MOM. These companies employ about 37,000 employees.

Meanwhile, the tripartite partners have updated the Tripartite Guidelines on the Re-employment of Older Employees, which was first released in 2011.

The new guidelines include guidance for employers on re-employing senior workers on a part-time basis, encouraging employers to raise their internal retirement and re-employment ages above statutory requirements, as well as adopting a “forward-looking approach” to guide employees on their career development.

"Employers are encouraged to embark on job redesign to effect organisation-wide and system-levels changes and build more age-friendly workplaces, so as to increase the number of older workers who can perform their jobs effectively," said MOM.

The guidelines will also advise employers on how they can restructure medical benefits to be more sustainable.

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Source: CNA/cc(mi)

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