THERE are many reasons why Singapore is still facing a manpower crunch after more than two decades, and why professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) - especially the older ones - are still finding it difficult to land good jobs.

Take, for example, the compliance and audit sector.

Most banks and financial institutions are reluctant to take on people with the right skill sets - for example, in investigation, business continuity and internal control - but who do not have industry experience.

They prefer to fight over the existing pool of experienced personnel. But this is tantamount to chasing their own tails.

Companies should consider those without industry experience, and have some leeway for these officers to pick up the industry nuances.

The Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA) can play an active role in devising place-and-train programmes for PMETs with the right attitude and skill sets but lack industrial experience.

Most job-hunting PMETs would want to continue to pursue a career in the similarly challenging areas that they had been working in.

I do not mean to belittle any profession, but place-and-train programmes for the security supervisory and physiotherapy sectors, for instance, would hardly be a good fit for a former operations manager.

Some PMETs may find these sectors satisfying if their wish is to step down from their previous hectic careers.

However, once other preferred vacancies are available, most PMETs would leave these sectors.

The WDA programme for Singaporeans wishing to pursue a career in intellectual property will be a good fit for PMETs.

However, I found out that this is not a place-and-train programme but a training course for people already working in the intellectual property industry.

To help PMETs better, the WDA should create job opportunities through place-and-train schemes in areas that are a better fit for them.