MORE job matching and training for mid-career professionals are in the works, as the Government moves to help those who may have been caught out by the changing economy.
Those looking to switch their jobs mid-career will get more help through a programme that will match job seekers with small and medium-sized firms, said Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin.
Mr Tan said professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) are generally doing well. Unemployment for these Singaporeans is low at 2.9 per cent and salaries have risen about 2 per cent a year over the past five years after taking inflation into account.
Although displaced PMETs are not a large group, "the pressures of a rapidly changing economy have caused some, especially mature PMETs, to feel anxious about their job security", said Mr Tan.
For those retrenched or looking to switch careers, the Government will introduce a place-and- train programme called P-Max that will work towards matching 3,000 PMETs with small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). It builds on the Max Talent Programme which has placed 1,000 workers in SMEs since 2012. Over eight in 10 of them stay in the job for six months, said Mr Tan.
The Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA) will also work with private placement firms to identify more job opportunities for PMETs, he said.
By 2030, some two in three Singaporeans in the workforce are expected to be PMETs.
Several MPs, including Mr Heng Chee How (Whampoa) and Ms Jessica Tan (East Coast GRC), raised concerns about the difficulties older PMETs face when wanting to go for training. Mr Sam Tan (Radin Mas) said the opportunity cost is higher for them as they have substantial personal commitments: "Some of those who have been retrenched are afraid of investing time and money on a full-time course as their topmost priority is to find a job quickly."
The minister acknowledged that some PMETs may face challenges in finding the time to upgrade themselves. But he said that is why the new approach to have bite-size modules will help them.
Subsidies have also been enhanced for older workers. All Singaporeans aged 40 and above will need to fork out at most 10 per cent of training costs for courses funded by the Education Ministry and the WDA.