SINGAPORE — Recognising that the rapidly-changing economy has led to local professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) feeling insecure over jobs, the Government will be rolling out several policies to help this group of Singaporeans take charge of their own learning and career development, as well as in job matching.
Announcing this in Parliament today (March 9), Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin said these efforts will be tailored to the needs and circumstances of PMETs, who formed about half of the citizen workforce last year. This proportion is set to rise to two-thirds by 2020.
Citing figures from a labour force survey by the Manpower Ministry, Mr Tan noted that Singaporean PMETs have enjoyed increases in real median incomes of 2 per cent per annum in the last five years. Last year, the unemployment rate among this group of workers was 2.9 per cent, with long-term unemployment rate remaining low at 0.7 per cent. Despite “positive employment outcomes”, there was a need to “look out” for Singaporean PMETs affected by unemployment, he said.
The Government will roll out an Individual Learning Portfolio for PMETs in 2017, which will provide PMETs with labour market information and tools to plan their career. The National Jobs Bank will also be integrated into this portfolio later.
PMETs are also a key focus under the SkillsFuture initiative and will be able to apply for the SkillsFuture Study Awards and SkillsFuture Fellowships, as well as the SkillsFuture Leadership Development Initiative, to forge ahead in their careers.
They will also benefit from higher education and training subsidies amounting to a minimum of 90 per cent or training costs, with Mr Tan noting that PMET courses tend to cost more and the absolute quantum of subsidy will be correspondingly higher. Previously, subsidy rates for PMETs were 50 to 70 per cent, lower than the 80 to 90 per cent for courses for rank-and-file workers.
Taking into account the busy work schedules and family commitments of PMETs, more flexibility will be injected into the training landscape and the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA) plans to incorporate online or workplace learning components into at least three in four courses offered by training partners.
More support will also be channelled to PMETs embarking on a mid-career change. The Max Talent place-and-train programme — started in April 2012 to help PMETs access good career opportunities within Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) — will be enhanced with stronger career development components.
The programme, to be renamed P-Max, is available to PMETs at any stage of their career, including those who are unemployed. Since its launch, there have been 1,000 successful placements, with a six-month retention rate of over 80 per cent.
“Given the positive feedback, we will enhance it with stronger career development components, and will work towards matching 3,000 PMETs with SME jobs over a three-year period,” said Mr Tan.
He added that placement and job matching efforts for this group of workers will also be stepped up. The WDA will collaborate with private search and placement firms to provide career services, which will widen the network of jobs that PMETs have access to.
news source & image credits: todayonline.com