SINGAPORE: About 330 job seekers have taken up jobs with start-ups under the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package between April and June, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said in its second report on the local jobs market on Thursday (Aug 20).
About half were mid-career workers who took part in the professional conversion programmes (PCPs).
Another 150 fresh and recent graduates have entered the start-up scene under the SGUnited Traineeships Programme since June.
To date, more than 1,600 start-ups are offering over 4,600 jobs and 860 traineeships and attachments, as part of the S$2 billion SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package announced in May during the fourth Budget.
These openings include “unconventional” roles such as gallery manager executive, as well as tech-related positions such as software developers and app developers.
Start-ups are also on the lookout for non-tech roles like sous chefs and business development leads.
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These figures were released as part of the second of a series of weekly updates on the labour market. The first was given on Aug 11 by Manpower Minister Josephine Teo, who noted that future updates will cover different aspects so as to provide jobseekers with “a comprehensive look” of the job situation.
The latest report sought to shine the spotlight on the local start-up scene given that it has “great potential to be job creators”, said Mrs Teo.
The MOM report said salaries offered by start-ups are “not necessarily below the industry norm”.
For instance, the median salary offered for software developers is S$6,000 – “in line with industry norm”, the ministry said.
Other roles that start-ups are actively seeking include chefs, engineering professionals, managers in sales, marketing and business development, as well as administrative professionals. The median salary offered for these positions range from S$2,700 to S$5,250, said the report.
This is because start-ups understand that they “have to offer decent salaries in order to get the talent that they want”, said Mrs Teo.
The minister also sought to debunk another misconception that start-ups are “filled with young entrepreneurs” and that they are not suited for mid-career workers.
She cited an example of 60-year-old Becky Chang who joined a start-up in April, three months after finding herself out of work when her former company decided to reorganise and shut down her business unit.
Prior to that, Mdm Chang had spent four decades in the shipping industry. Through a PCP programme that helped her to get up to speed with the requirements at the new job, Mdm Chang now works as a shipping and procurement manager at logistics start-up Moovaz.
“She shared with us that today she is required to analyse and negotiate freight pricing, and manage clients’ relocation moves in a very different way that she used to before.
“She’s able to mentor her younger colleagues how the industry has been working in the past, (and) she feels very energised by what her younger colleagues are also sharing with her” said Mrs Teo at a panel discussion held after a visit to The Greenhouse, an incubation space at the Singapore Management University.
Workforce Singapore (WSG) will continue to match jobseekers to such opportunities, said MOM.
“While the job roles and sectors are not always familiar, we are encouraged by the jobseekers who have kept an open mind. The Government will also provide support to businesses, both established and new, to build a strong Singaporean core as they expand,” it added.
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COST-SAVING MEASURES BY FIRMS
MOM also said it has received about 6,300 notifications from employers about their cost-saving measures as at end-July.
This affected about 224,800 employees, both local and foreign.
About half of those affected came from the three sectors of accommodation and food services, construction, and wholesale and retail trade, MOM said.
Since Mar 12, employers with at least 10 employees have been required to notify MOM if they implement cost-saving measures that affect the monthly salaries of their employee.
The number of employers making such submissions reached a peak during the “circuit breaker” period – hitting 2,800 in April – but has since decreased “significantly”, said MOM.
According to the report, the number of employers that submitted notifications on cost-savings to MOM fell to 1,200 in May before dipping to 900 and 600 in June and July. It was 800 in March.
The number of employees affected in April rose to 83,000 as more firms took on cost-saving measures, from the 46,000 in March. However, this figure moderated “sharply” to 38,600 in May, 34,400 in June and 22,800 in July.
“This suggests that companies were making concerted efforts to hold back retrenchments, likely encouraged by the broad-based support measures provided by the Government,” MOM said.
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The top three cost-saving measures implemented by firms include adjustments to monthly salary components, no-pay leave and a shorter work week.
Local employees make up slightly less than half of all employees affected.
Based on engagements by MOM and the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices, employers have “generally been responsible and implemented cost-saving measures fairly”, the report said.
Mrs Teo said this is “very encouraging” and serves as a “useful backdrop” for the National Wages Council which will reconvene later this month to review the wages and employment guidelines it issued in March.
While these cost-saving measures are recommended as alternatives to retrenchments, MOM cautioned that job losses “will still happen” given the mounting pressure on businesses amid the pandemic-induced downturn.
MOM said the Taskforce for Responsible Retrenchment and Employment Facilitation will continue to render support to displaced workers by matching them to new job opportunities in growth sectors through its employment facilitation services.
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