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During his annual May Day Rally, PM Lee Hsien Loong cited that Singapore can stay in the game of economic prosperity as long as unions and management work closely together with one another as well as with the government.
He highlights that unemployment rate has crept up to reach 2.3%. As industries continue restructuring and the workforce continues aging, the tendency will be that the unemployment rate will gradually go even higher.
The Prime Minister summed up what the government is doing to continue to prosper: “jobs, jobs and jobs,” citing three different ways of thinking about jobs.
- One, creating new jobs by bringing in new businesses and investments, and expanding existing businesses.
- Two, finding replacement jobs for workers who have lost their jobs or are out of work, and need work.
- Thirdly, jobs for future workers. Training students and training workers to grow in their jobs. To do something different, bigger, and more productive in the future.
With that in mind, here’s a look at the three things, most relevant to jobs and HR challenges, that you need to know about May Day Rally 2017:
#1 Create new jobs: New companies, new investments, upgrading and expansion of existing companies
- “If we do not have the new companies, if we do not have a business friendly environment where people want to come, there will be no new jobs,” said PM Lee saying that helping businesses create new jobs has been Singapore’s winning formula for 50 years.
- Economic Development Board (EDB) has been working hard to get MNCs to come in to Singapore. For example, in electronics, Micron invested more than $5 billion to expand its fab in Woodlands, creating 500 jobs. In IT, Google opened a campus in Mapletree Business City with 1,000 Googlers.
- Helping SMEs upgrade themselves, go overseas, expand and get new capabilities, led by SPRING and IE Singapore.
#2 Finding replacement jobs for workers who have lost their jobs or are out of work
- Several schemes have been expanded under Adapt and Grow – Professional Conversion Programme (PCP), Career Support Programme for PMETs, and enhanced work trial support for the rank-and-file.
- With the O&M industry as it is, it is very difficult to find replacement jobs in another shipyard. But there are other industries which are doing well, which require the skills which the engineers and technicians from the shipyards have, like transport, like aviation.
- NTUC has set up the NTUC Youth Career Network to mentor youth by offering career guidance and preparing graduates for job applications.
- PM Lee urged employers: “Do not just recruit new graduates, give mature workers a second chance. Older workers bring with them maturity and experience. Grey hair is quite good!”
#3 Upgrading of all workers, supporting them in their existing jobs
- The government has been working hard on SkillsFuture, which according to the IMF is “one of the most comprehensive such programmes they have seen,” said PM Lee.
- Plans to transform the economy and grow jobs through the industry transformation maps, a major recommendation of the Committee on the Future Economy. The ITMs tackle the situation industry by industry, working out what specific things need to be done in that industry to upgrade it, to adapt it.
- He urged employers to invest in technology and train up workers. Unions, to work with employers, identify where the new jobs will be and help the workers get the new skills. The Government, to support the companies to adopt the new technology. The workers to get the new training. “This is tripartism in action,” he said.
With these three things in place, PM Lee said that: “If all our segments of society, workers as well as employers, managers and professionals as well as foremen and rank and file, sacrifice equally when sacrifice is called for, I am confident that we can overcome the challenges and emerge stronger.”
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