Mismatch of job skills and expectations leads more youth under 30 to give up looking for jobs, according to Ministry of Manpower. In 2016 alone, the number of discouraged youth has risen upto 1,200 workers, up from 700 last year.
A youth who is termed as “discouraged” is someone who has lost all hopes and is not actively looking for a job, because they think a search will not yield results.
With the prevailing economic outlook being gloomy and shortage of skilled talent, the incidence of discouraged workers tends to increase. This year, there were 9,900 discouraged workers, up from 8,700 last year but lower than the 11,100 in 2009, Asia One reports.
According to the Ministry of Manpower’s (MOM) advance release on the labour force two weeks ago, 6,900 of discouraged workers, nearly 70 per cent were aged above 50. Those under 30, were the second largest group at 12 percent.
The MOM cited reasons for workers being discouraged on the belief that there is no suitable work available, discrimination by employers, lack of necessary qualifications, training and experience. Liu Hao Ming, labour economist at National University of Singapore (NUS) thinks it’s hard to understand if younger workers here in Singapore are highly educated.
Ming said, “”By definition, these individuals believe that they cannot find a job at the wage rate that is at or above their reservation wages (lowest wage rate at which a worker is willing to accept a particular type of job).”
NUS sociologist Tan Ern Ser thinks the number of discouraged workers could rise if there continues to be a mismatch of skills and expectations between employers and jobseekers. To address the problem of job skills mismatch, the labour movement will be setting up a new unit touted as the “strategic nerve centre” to help workers acquire skills and training to get settled in their jobs over the next three-year horizon.
See: Singapore Government Launches New Initiative to Meet Skills Demand of the ICT Sector
This new initiative soon to kick-off on January 1, 2017 will embark on pilot projects in areas such as financial services, information and communications technology and media, precision engineering, healthcare, and early childhood and private education, said National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) assistant secretary-general Patrick Tay.
Mr Tay who will be leading the unit found that there are three types of mismatches when it comes to helping the unemployed find jobs. They are: mismatch of skills, jobs and expectations. This new unit will be geared towards identifying “tomorrow’s jobs” and skills needed for the workforce of the future to meet the business expectations.
It will make use of information gathered from the ground to find out “where, when and what are the current and new opportunities available for workers”. Its network could include government agencies, the Lifelong Learning Institute and self-employed people.
For displaced workers, there are various avenues to help them find jobs such as the Jobs Bank. Further the Ministry will make sure that the workers facing retrenchments are treated fairly.
Also read: Stepping Up Efforts on SkillsFuture Singapore: Ong Ye Kung and Lim Swee Say
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