A programme aimed at incentivising companies to hire unemployed mature workers in mid-level jobs has had a positive start.
Since its launch on Oct 1, five companies have come on board the Career Support Programme. The scheme is also proving especially useful to small- and medium-size enterprises (SMEs).
Mrs Judith Chew, 50, is among those who have benefited from the programme. She was out of work for almost a year.
The former Head of Delivery for a learning and development organisation was earning a five-figure sum when she left to care for her child. When she decided to go back to work, she sent out her resume to several companies, but there was no response. Mrs Chew then changed her job search approach.
“I have friends who have actually been searching for jobs and I do realise that it is challenging for them,” she said. “Like one friend of mine has been looking for a job for three years, and he is still looking for a job.
“I hear most of the time, when we send out our CVs and resumes we don’t get a reply. Sometimes the salary gap is just too big for the potential employer to consider hiring us. So instead of looking for a perfect job, I asked myself, how can I make myself perfect for the next job that I want?”
Mrs Chew then took up courses to update her skills.
She finally landed a job with Wong Fong Academy, a local SME and training provider, which tapped onto the Career Support Programme.
Under it, an employer takes in a worker who’s at least 40 years old, and has been jobless for at least six months. The pay has to be at least S$4,000 a month. The employer must provide structured on-the-job training or send the worker for courses, approved by the Workforce Development Agency.
The Government chips in by giving employers a tiered wage subsidy. In Mrs Chew’s case, her employer gets a 40 per cent wage subsidy for six months and then 20 per cent for the next six months. Although Judith took a 50 per cent pay cut, her employer says the scheme makes it easier for an SME to justify hiring a mature worker, for a mid to high level job.
“It has been a challenge looking for the right people,” said Mr Edmund Lim, a general manager at Wong Fong Academy. “As employers firstly we don’t want to short-change employees. We do want to give them the fair pay that they deserve because they been working for so many years and certainly based on their skills sets, they can definitely help bring the organisation to another level. So with the wage support we can definitely pay them fairly and within the company we have options for these candidates to come and join us.”
At the national level, the SkillsFuture initiative includes a special focus on mid-career Singaporeans. For example, there are enhanced training subsidies. All Singaporeans above the age of 40 can get training subsidies of at least 90 per cent for courses recognised by the Education Ministry as well as the Workforce Development Agency.
new source & image credits: channelnewsasia.com