NTUC-SNEF PME Taskforce Calls For More Support For Unemployed Workers
The first two years of the Covid-19 pandemic were a worrying time for workers in Singapore, many of whom lost their jobs due to the country – and the whole world – coming to a standstill.
A few months ago, NTUC launched #EveryWorkerMatters Conversations, a year-long public engagement exercise to understand better what workers need.
Now, among other recommendations to help strengthen employment and employability for professionals, managers, and executives (PMEs), they are calling for stronger support for those who have been involuntarily unemployed as they search for their next jobs.
Update on progress of NTUC-SNEF PME Taskforce recommendations
A year ago, the joint NTUC and Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF) PME Taskforce proposed nine recommendations to help strengthen PMEs’ employment and employability, enabling them to compete fairly and more effectively in the labour market.
Since then, NTUC and SNEF have continued working closely with the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and other organisations to make these recommendations a reality.
On 26 Oct, PME Taskforce Co-Chairs NTUC Assistant Secretary-General Patrick Tay and SNEF Executive Director Sim Gim Guan delivered an update on the progress of the recommendations at a media conference.
Here are how some of the PME Taskforce’s recommendations are progressing:
- Enhancing fair employment practices through improving HR standards and strengthening enforcement against errant companies that adopt unfair practices.
- Strengthening Singaporean Core through enhancing the Employment Pass application review process and facilitating skills transfer to local PMEs.
- Developing structured jobs and skills plans for PMEs through Company Training Committees.
- Strengthening the nexus between tripartite partners and Institutes of Higher Learning to prepare the workforce for economic transitions and investment pipelines.
NTUC Secretary-General Ng Chee Meng, who serves as the PME Taskforce’s Co-Advisor, said he is happy that most of the proposals are already making good headway.
When implemented, these recommendations would give our PMEs a level playing field for jobs and make them more employable.
NTUC-SNEF PME Taskforce continues to advocate for unemployment support
However, the work doesn’t stop there, and there’s still much to be done.
Mr Tay declared that the NTUC-SNEF PME Taskforce would continue to advocate for support for vulnerable PMEs who have been involuntarily unemployed.
This was also one of the nine recommendations highlighted last year and aims to give workers some breathing room as they retrain themselves and search for employment.
“Our PMEs matter, and NTUC will continue to lobby for initiatives that will benefit our workers in the short and long term,” said Mr Tay.
It’s a cause that Mr Ng strongly believes in as well.
Noting that MOM is still reviewing the recommendation to provide unemployment support, he said he hopes the ministry would back them up as PMEs “would very much need interim assistance should they lose their jobs”.
Sentiments like these were gathered during various #EveryWorkerMatters Conversations dialogues.
The latest one, co-hosted by NTUC and LinkedIn Singapore, took place on 25 Oct and saw the participation of over 70 PMEs.
During the event, the PMEs opened up about the issues they face and what they would need to aid their overall employment and employability opportunities.
Some pointed out this would include unemployment support as they search for work.
At an engagement session with PMEs on 2 Nov, Minister for Manpower Tan See Leng affirmed that the Government has indeed heard NTUC’s calls for unemployment support and is looking into it. He said,
We hear you, and we understand and empathise with you. We are now looking very carefully at how to provide better support to displaced workers.
Since hunting for a job is already such a stressful endeavour, having such support would significantly ease a lot of burdens, especially for those suddenly retrenched.
Supporting PMEs in career progression & skills upgrading
PMEs who need assistance with career progression and upgrading their skills can also benefit from NTUC’s recommendations.
For instance, through Company Training Committees (CTCs), workers can undergo career conversions or upskill themselves to keep up with ever-shifting business and industry requirements.
Employers may also seek guidance on how to upskill or reskill their more mature PMEs.
According to the PME Taskforce’s update, MOM has provided a S$100 million grant to scale up to 2,500 CTCs by 2025, which means many more workers can get the help they need in this area.
A lot more is being done to develop this goal further.
Besides exploring ways to build a pipeline of local talent with international exposure for Singaporean enterprises, NTUC will launch more opportunities for career conversions and ensure that PMEs get the support they need as they transition.
NTUC-SNEF PME Taskforce wants to hear from workers
All these plans and actions were only possible because of the feedback from those who needed them the most.
“The nine recommendations arose from PMEs’ feedback to NTUC and SNEF,” Mr Tay explained. “We have helped amplify our PMEs’ views with a stronger voice and turned these into actionable recommendations that will help our PMEs.”
Together with SNEF, they will continue to consult PMEs on the ground to understand new and evolving challenges.
They will then work with tripartite partners to ensure that Singaporeans have everything they will need for the jobs of the future — after all, it always pays to be prepared.
Attending an in-person dialogue isn’t the only way to let your voice be heard. You can also visit the NTUC #EveryWorkerMatters Conversations website here to share your thoughts.
The first few steps to solving a problem are to identify it and then raise it to those with the power to do something about it, so what you submit could make all the difference.
Help the future of Singapore’s workforce
Losing one’s job can cause a lot of anxiety and doubt, especially when the cost of living is rising everywhere.
As such, the proper assistance and support systems can go a very long way in easing burdens and minds as the search for a new career path – and potentially a new life journey – begins.
Then, once you’ve gotten back on your feet, you can get ready to soar even higher. Most folks have the potential — they just need the right keys to help them open the right doors.
This post was brought to you in collaboration with NTUC.
Featured image by MS News.
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