Rapid growth in the healthcare sector will provide thousands of jobs in the upcoming years, including for older mid-career people who do not have prior experience in the field, said Senior Minister of State for Health Amy Khor.
She stated that the Sengkang General and Community hospitals are set to open next year, while five new polyclinics will open in the next three years. These openings will absorb more than 9,000 people in the workforce, in which half of them professionals, managers, executives, and technicians (PMETs).
Dr Khor is keeping close attention with the efforts to match Singapore residents to jobs in healthcare. While the Government has identified healthcare as one of five sectors being affected by disruptive technology, but it has significant potential for growth. She said that this industry can be part of solution to the rise of long-term unemployment, especially for older people and PMETs.
The other industries include infocomm and media, whosale trade, professional services, and financial services. More initiatives are designed to help workers make the switch to these sectors, Straits Times reports.
Representing half of the workforce, PMETs suffer the hardest hit by the drop in job market. Almost two-thirds of people unable to find a job within six months of unemployment are coming from this group. Additionally, Singapore sees an increasing figures of people facing such long-term unemployment, from 12,700 in 2015 to 17,000 last year.
Older people, who form more than two-thirds of the unemployed in this statistic, have to face greater obstacle in landing a job, with thousands of unemployed PMETs aged 40 and older. Owing to this reason, Dr Khor wants to make the transition of career switch for this group a little easier.
On the other hand, fresh graduates planning to join the sector need not worry that mid-career talents will beat them out of jobs. Due to the ageing population, variety of jobs in healthcare are opened to cater the needs, such as therapists, care coordinators and centre managers, and a bulk in nursing.
Dr Khor admits a disadvantage when workers want to switch to healthcare sector is that it needs long training. For example, nurses have to spend two years in the classroom and another two years training on the job. Therefore, the Professional Conversion Programme is programmed to help workers make a mid-career switch and give them an allowance of up to $2,420 a month, which depends on the job and work experience. The course fee, which could top $40,000, is either heavily subsidised or fully funded.
While this would be less than their last-drawn salary, it would not be fair to pay them the full salary of someone who is working full time either, she added. On the plus side, they would get a steady job in a growing industry where the demand for their services will remain significant in the foreseeable future.
Dr Khor will also collaborate with employers on funding support. There will be incentives for employers who provide workers with on-the-job training which top $4,000 for up to six months. Furthermore, an employer who takes in a registered nurse for two years of on-the-job training is given $16,000.