In 2020, unemployment and layoff rates increased as the Covid-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on Singapore’s labor market.
Employment increased in the first quarter of 2021 for the first time since the start of the pandemic, according to initial estimates released by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM).
However, despite improving employment rates, the labor market has not returned to pre-Covid conditions and many companies are still undergoing restructuring and reorganization.
According to former Minister of Manpower, Joséphine Teo, there could still be “pockets of job cuts”, and employers and job seekers are encouraged to keep an open mind as job posting profiles have changed.
The government has since rolled out the SGUnited suite of programs and services aimed at providing a cushion for job seekers and businesses affected by the pandemic.
To consolidate all the different services available, the Government Technology Agency (GovTech), Workforce Singapore (WSG) and SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) have released new employment support modules on the LifeSG app for job seekers. .
Vulcan Post spoke to three Singaporean job seekers to find out how the new Employment Assistance modules on LifeSG have helped them in their job search.
A more user-centric approach
The multitude of different job search platforms – from Telegram channels to LinkedIn and JobStreet – could make the whole job search process extremely tedious and complicated.
This is especially the case if the job seeker is unsure of their career interests or the particular industry they would like to enter.
Siti Munirah Ezar, in particular, left her post as manager of management support in August last year to focus on full-time child care.
The business studies graduate is now looking to re-enter the workforce, but like many, she doesn’t know what to pursue. This is why she found the “Discover your interests” section of the guide “Support in your job search” particularly useful.
“I wasn’t sure which role was right for me, so the online assessment tools helped me find potential career paths I can take,” she told Vulcan Post after trying the feature.
“By finding out what I want, I can better apply for relevant jobs, instead of widening my net too much. ”
On the other hand, recent graduate Dylan Teo found the ‘Finding employment opportunities’ section to be more useful to him as a new job seeker.
The 25-year-old has been looking for a job since February but hasn’t received many favorable responses.
“The LifeSG app made it easy for me to explore online job openings with MyCareersFuture, which is useful as I don’t have to spend my time browsing various websites,” said the graduate from National University of Singapore.
“In addition, there is also the possibility of attending career fairs and networking events, which in my opinion is very important when looking for a job”.
Obviously, the LifeSG app is aimed at different types of job seekers, from those looking for their first job to those looking to re-enter the workforce after a certain period of time.
For example, new graduates would find “Getting Career Advice and Coaching” and “Finding Employment Opportunities” more useful, while mid-career people are likely to find more value in “changing careers” and “ improve your skills ”.
Other services include obtaining financial support if you are unemployed or have a cut in pay, and information on fair dismissal practices.
According to data released by MOM in September 2020, around 11,350 people lost their jobs in the first half of last year.
Layoffs in the second quarter of 2020 exceeded the peak recorded during the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) epidemic in 2003.
In addition, more and more companies have announced pay cuts or pushed employees to take unpaid leave amid the pandemic and recession.
Even though the government has implemented various financial programs to help those affected, many may not have known before due to the large amount of information available online.
The LifeSG application will be useful in helping those affected to understand what kind of help is available to them and how to request such help.
Skills development and retraining as a lever for progress
According to Grant Torrens, regional manager of Hays in Singapore, recruiting expert, employers are starting to hire on the basis of “skill pools rather than a traditional fine-fit on paper.”
Even before the pandemic hit, employers were already moving towards a more skills-based approach to hiring, which has since been accelerated by Covid-19.
The Singapore government has also encouraged Singaporeans to keep learning new skills and competences, so that they are not left behind in the race for jobs.
With this, SkillsFuture’s programs aim to help Singaporeans find a place for retraining and development, as well as supporting lifelong learning.
Samuel Lim, who is currently between jobs, found the LifeSG app useful in helping him in his quest to learn new skills.
Aged 26, he has a degree in economics and wishes to pursue a career in software development. In addition to actively seeking new opportunities in the field, he also makes extra efforts to acquire new skills.
“The LifeSG app makes it easy for me to manage all of my SkillsFuture credits. I can also browse and apply to the courses available through the app, which is so much easier than switching between different web pages, ”said Samuel.
The “Government Benefits” section of the LifeSG app allows users to check their SkillsFuture credit balance, as well as access the SkillsFuture portal.
Besides the SkillsFuture credit, there are a host of training funds and grants that Singaporeans can apply for, which Siti only discovered using the LifeSG app.
“I thought to improve my skills I could only use SkillsFuture credits, but there are also workshops to help you write your resume, build confidence and maintain skills for your job search.” , she said.
The 31-year-old said she was concerned that her maintenance skills might be rusted, so the service would be of great benefit in helping her increase her chances of employability.
She also believes that improving and upgrading her skills also gives her a better fighting chance, or competitive advantage, against young job seekers.
A one-stop-shop of resources for Singaporeans
The LifeSG app acts as a one-stop-shop to connect Singaporeans to various government services, from checking your CPF balance to renewing your seasonal parking in HDB areas.
The newly added Employment Assistance Modules also greatly assist Singaporeans in all aspects of job search.
Finding a job can be a very overwhelming process, but LifeSG will be able to provide job seekers with start-to-finish support – from improving interview skills to attending trade shows. virtual employment and participation in courses to develop new skills.
To get help with your job search at your fingertips, start here
This article was written in collaboration with Workforce Singapore.
Featured Image Credit: Vulcan Post
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