Career News (July 2020)

Highlights of manpower news in Singapore this month included:

Q2 sees worst-ever fall in employment
Total employment plunged by 121,800 in Q2, according to preliminary data released by Ministry of Manpower. This is the biggest quarterly fall on record between April and June, while unemployment and retrenchments rose sharply. The fall is more than four times that of the first quarter and indicates that the economy has shed 147,500 workers in the first half of the year.

Traineeships expanded to include mid-career jobseekers starting 1 August
Traineeships will be expanded to cater also to mid-career job seekers, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat has announced. The traineeships will come from the pool previously approved for fresh jobseekers, and include positions such as business development managers, software engineers, finance analysts and e-commerce associates.

Aircraft maintenance firm disciplined for unfair retrenchment process
Aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul firm Eagle Services Asia has come under fire for its retrenchment process, which had laid off employees without notice. The unions and the labour movement were alerted to this and stepped in to stop further actions by the company until an agreement was reached.

Google, Economic Development Board, Infocomm Media Development Authority and SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) launch new jobs and skills training initiative
Around 3,000 jobseeker will benefit from the programme, which involves online vocational training and hands-on experiences. Google itself will offer at least 100 place-and-train positions, while other companies that have joined include Sephora, and FNZ.

Firms must embrace technology, workers must embrace upskilling
“Attitudinal” training – the building up of a good mindset towards embracing change – is just as important as skills training, industry leaders said at a forum organised by SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG). The way forward is for employees to keep improving on their skills and knowledge, and learn to use technology to their advantage.

Temasek-backed fashion tech platform Zilingo cuts 12% more jobs
The Singapore-based startup said that it is downsizing marketing, sourcing and support teams in the US, Australia, Singapore and Indonesia. Thus, it cut an additional 12% more jobs on top of a 5% cut that occurred in April. The leadership team will also be taking a 30% pay cut, and most employees will be working from home.

Rolls-Royce slashes 24% of Singapore workforce
Engineering giant Rolls-Royce cut 240 roles, or 24% of their Singapore workforce. This is part of their global move to lay-off 9,000 roles amidst the lower civil aerospace engines and aftermarket services, the company confirmed. Rolls-Royce has been collaborating with the Singapore Industrial and Services Employees’ Union and NTUC’s e2i (Employment and Employability Institute) to support retrenched workers, including job searching, career coaching and employability training.

Resorts World Sentosa retrenches staff to cope with “devastating” impact of pandemic
Integrated resort operator Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) retrenched roughly 2,000 employees to grapple with “devastating impact” the coronavirus pandemic has had on the tourism industry. It provided fair compensation to retrenched employees, and has stated that the retrenchment exercise was a “one-off workplace rationalisation” and that the company has managed to retain the vast majority of its local staff. RWS also worked with Attractions, Resorts and Entertainment Union (AREU) and the National Trades Union Congress’ Employment and Employability Institute (e2i), to identify and match job openings to affected Singaporeans and permanent residents based on their skills and experience.

Employees reskill for better jobs during current slowdown
Amid the current slowdown, more than 1,700 workers are being trained and redeployed to new or higher-value roles, through five reskilling programmes launched or enhanced in this year’s Budget, said Workforce Singapore (WSG). The programmes subsidise up to 70% of trainees’ monthly salaries, or up to 90% for Singaporean trainees aged 40 and up. The salary support is anywhere from four to six months.

Jobs Support Scheme is protecting local jobs, says Manpower Minister Josephine Teo
“The Jobs Support Scheme is fulfilling its objective of saving jobs and protecting livelihoods. And as a result, when companies have to make a decision on whether to continue with their local employees or to continue with their foreign employees, it is quite clear to them where the support from the Government is, and they will make their decisions accordingly,” said Manpower Minister Mrs Teo, defending the scheme. “It is very clear that in (a time of) recession, foreign employment has served as a buffer. And… this is a result of the tremendous support that is being provided to companies for local employment.”

More 12,000 have new jobs since March under the SGUnited Jobs initiative
More than 12,000 people have been placed in new jobs since March under the SGUnited Jobs initiative, comprising a mix of Singaporeans and permanent residents, with Singaporeans as the majority. Close to 70% of the 12,000 placements were in the public sector, including Covid-19 related, healthcare and digital positions, said Workforce Singapore, SkillsFuture Singapore, the Infocomm Media Development Authority, the Public Service Division and NTUC’s e2i in a joint statement.

Universities monitor impact of pandemic as internships drop amid hiring freeze
This year has seen a drop in internships. For example, data from job portals JobsCentral and BrightMinds had 222 internship and part-time positions listed from January to May, down from 348 last year during the same period. University students have been tapping personal and professional networks, sharing spreadsheets and agreements regarding internships available.

Mr Vinay Dua, managing director of the job portals’ parent company, CareerBuilder Singapore, noted a “significant dip” in internships related to wealth management and financial planning, sales and consulting. “This is unsurprising, given the reduction in demand for those services amid the pandemic,” he told The Sunday Times.

Over 700 organisations, firms, ministries, govt agencies offer more than 7,500 traineeships for graduates
The SGUnited Traineeships Programmes aims to boost recent graduates’ employability, to prepare for when hiring demand picks up. In addition to on-the-job training, trainees receive an estimated monthly training allowance of $1,100 to $2,500, depending on their qualifications. According to Workforce Singapore, by mid-June more than 700 organisations, companies, government agencies and ministries had come on board the SGUnited Traineeships Programme.

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