75 resumes later, he lands job, thanks to SGUnited
Civil design engineer trainee is among 33,100 locals who have benefited from government job initiatives
Despite sending out more than 70 resumes in two months earlier this year, the architecture graduate did not get a single job offer.
So when the SGUnited Traineeships Programme was launched in June, Mr Pung Li Kuang, 25, who returned to Singapore after graduating from the University of New South Wales in Australia last December, signed up immediately.
Now, just three months into his year-long traineeship, he may have found his calling.
As a civil design engineer trainee at Greyline Solution, a new division set up by interior design firm WEDA StudioInc, Mr Pung helps other firms adopt prefabricated containers as temporary housing for migrant workers - a project aligned with his own ideals of designing for good causes.
He told The New Paper: "It has been an adventure. Although this is not really my expertise, I have learnt a lot."
As of end-August, 33,100 locals have found jobs or training positions with the help of various government schemes, including the SGUnited Traineeships Programme, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said yesterday in its weekly jobs report.
This is up by 9,100 from the 24,000 job seekers who were successfully placed as of end-July. And 29,580 of the 33,100 were placed into jobs, up by 5,580 from end-July.
More also took on long-term jobs, as placements into jobs of less than 12 months fell from 58 per cent to 55 per cent.
This was mainly due to an earlier focus in placing job seekers into short-term public sector jobs to handle the surge in Covid-19-related operations, said MOM.
A total of 117,500 new jobs, training and attachment opportunities have been created under the $2 billion SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package, surpassing the initial target of creating 100,000 opportunities when it was announced in May.
Of these opportunities, 70 per cent are jobs, said MOM.
"It is good progress," Manpower Minister Josephine Teo said at a briefing yesterday.
She said: "We're not just making progress in terms of pulling together the opportunities. There's also very good progress in getting people placed. Being placed into jobs is something that is of high priority."
Despite this, MOM noted that a significant number of vacancies remain unfilled due to a continuing mismatch in expectations and skills.
"The focus now must be to try and get as many of those vacancies filled as possible... We will have to have a very strong emphasis on jobs matching," said Mrs Teo.
Appealing to employers and job seekers to keep an open mind, she urged the former to look beyond candidates who are an exact match and focus on transferable skills.
She advised job seekers to consider seeking career guidance early.
Ms Intan Adam, 47, could not get a job after more than 60 applications in over a year.
In August last year, she turned to Workforce Singapore, which helped her improve her resume and online profile.
WEDA StudioInc recruited Ms Intan in April this year after finding her profile on MyCareersFuture.
She had to take a 20 per cent pay cut, but by May she was helping to set up Greyline Solution, which in turn recruited Mr Pung after he signed up with the SGUnited programme.
Said Ms Intan: "I don't know if it will be easier now that there are a lot of government initiatives, but I hope people looking for a job never give up."
Meanwhile, Mr Pung is taking courses and working towards a diploma related to his current work. He said: "If you don't try, you'll never know. A position as a civil design engineer was something I had never thought about."
Unemployment rates continued to rise in August
While more people have been placed into jobs and training positions, unemployment rates continued to rise in the month of August, with the overall rate exceeding the peak recorded during the global financial crisis.
Ministry of Manpower (MOM) data yesterday showed the overall unemployment rate climbed to 3.4 per cent in August, higher than the 3.3 per cent in September 2009 and level with December 1998 during the Asian Financial Crisis.
This is still below the high of 4.8 per cent in September 2003 amid the Sars outbreak.
Unemployment rates for citizens and permanent residents in August also stayed below previous downturns, said MOM.
It said monthly unemployment rates have been rising gradually, with the resident unemployment rate climbing 0.4 percentage points, from 4.1 per cent in July to 4.5 per cent in August.
This is similar to the 0.3-percentage-point increase between June and July.
A total of 105,700 residents were unemployed in August, including 91,100 citizens.
Speaking at a media briefing, Manpower Minister Josephine Teo said the Government is keeping a close watch but cannot yet tell whether the unemployment rate will rise more quickly in the coming months.
"The overall picture is that in spite of the fact that we are seeing a slight uptick in the unemployment rate, there are still jobs available in this same period," she added.
MOM's weekly jobs report said there were an additional 25,500 job and training opportunities created in August, of which 17,000 were jobs.
A total of 117,500 opportunities were created under the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package since it was announced in May. As of end-August, 33,100 job seekers have been placed into these opportunities.
Mrs Teo said it is not surprising to have a slight uptick in unemployment even as job vacancies are being filled, adding that this could be because there are people who were out of the workforce now rejoining the job search.
Asked if unemployment rates would rise as economic support measures are weened off, Mrs Teo said it was difficult to foretell the future, but what can be done is to make sure opportunities currently available are filled as quickly as possible.
She also pointed to the Monetary Authority of Singapore's estimates that the support measures rolled out so far would offset the rise in the resident unemployment rate by about 1.7 per cent this year and save about 155,000 jobs over two years.