Retailers at a soon-to-open shopping mall are partnering the South West Community Development Council (CDC) to offer part-time and flexi-work jobs to attract staff in today's tight labour market.

Jem, sited next to Jurong East MRT station, is slated to open in May. It held a career fair yesterday in collaboration with South West CDC. It offered about 2,000 jobs with 60 mall tenants. Of these, 600 are part-time or flexi-work arrangements. The jobs are mainly in the retail and food and beverage sectors.

The flexi-work and part-time positions are targeted at older workers and housewives who wish to rejoin the workforce. They form a new pool of manpower that the retail industry can tap, said South West District Mayor Amy Khor.

"It will ease some of the manpower crunch our retail and service sector companies are currently facing," said Dr Khor, who was guest of honour at the fair.

Employers welcomed the idea of attracting the new demographic of employees.

"This new pool of workers would be very helpful during afternoon peak hours when the lunch crowd comes," said Marks & Spencer human resource manager Magdelene Choo, 36.

She said the company caters to flexi-work requests by having employees establish a timeslot they can commit to, such as the evening shift on weekdays. Employees can be assured of working during this period.

She conceded that department managers, who prefer full-time workers, would need convincing. "We constantly remind them to consider part-time workers when there are vacancies," she said.

This is the first time South West CDC has partnered a shopping mall for a career fair.

Job seekers yesterday said they hoped to find a post that would fit in with their schedules.

"I am open to most jobs, but I would prefer not to work on Sundays as they are the only days I can spend with my son," said Madam Roslinda Jaafar, 49.