Parliament Wrap: Graduate employment, senior re-employment and job fairs in the spotlight

HRM Asia provides a round-up of the manpower updates during Monday’s (January 9) Parliament session in Singapore.

In 2015, more than 98% of local employees who wished to continue working were offered re-employment upon reaching the age of 62.

Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say revealed this in an oral answer to a parliamentary question posed by Member of Parliament (MP) Dr Lim Wee Kiak on Monday (January 9).

“This has contributed to the increase in the employment rate for local residents aged 55 to 64 to a high of 67.3% in June 2016,” said Lim.

However, he cited that the unemployment rate for local residents aged 50 and above has also increased from 2.1% in September 2014 to 2.3% in September 2016.

“There was also a corresponding rise in the long-term unemployment rate by 0.2%, from 0.8% to 1.0% over the same two-year period,” said Lim.

The Manpower Minister stressed that the Government will continue to offer extra assistance to promote the employment of older workers.

“These include the Special Employment Credit (SEC), which is a wage offset of up to 8% of monthly wages for hiring Singaporean workers aged 55 and above, and earning not more than $4,000,” he said.

A further wage offset of up to three percent is provided for those aged 65 and above, said Lim.

In addition, under the Adapt and Grow initiative, Lim said the Government is also providing extra career and employment support to older workers, both rank-and-file and PMETs.

“Out of more than 11,000 workers placed by WSG and NTUC-e2i career centres in the first nine months of 2016, 39% (2 in 5) were jobseekers aged 50 and above,” he added.

Average waiting time for local and foreign university graduates

Dr Lim also asked the Manpower Minister on the average waiting time for local and foreign university graduates to get into the workforce under current circumstances.

Lim replied that based on the annual Graduate Employment Survey coordinated by the Ministry of Education, around nine in 10 graduates of Singapore’s autonomous universities found jobs within six months from the completion of their final examinations in 2015.

“This is consistent with previous three cohorts,” he said.

Securing jobs via Government-supported job fairs

MP Leon Perera also asked Lim how many employees have successfully found jobs through Government-supported job fairs each year over the past ten years.

Lim responded that in the past 10 years from 2007 to September 2016, Government-funded career services and programmes operated mainly by the Workforce Development Agency (now Workforce Singapore – WSG) and NTUC-e2i have helped more than 160,000 jobseekers to secure employment.

“To maximise matching, our integrated suite of services and programmes include more than just job fairs, but also career guidance and counselling, job search coaching, employability camps, career preparatory events, as well as placement programmes such as Professional Conversion Programmes,” said Lim.

“On an annual basis, the number ranges from a high of more than 24,000 in 2009 to a low of about 13,500 in 2008, with an annual average of over 16,000.”

The Manpower Minister also revealed that the share of PMET placements has grown from 10% in 2007 to 37% in the first 9 months of 2016, while the proportion of older workers (aged 50 and above) has risen from 29% to 39% over the same 10-year period.

“What is most encouraging is that 35% who successfully found jobs in the first 9 months of 2016 were previously unemployed for six months or more,” he added.

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