Saving jobs and upskilling workers a top priority in Singapore

This article is more than 12 months old

Unemployment will rise significantly over the next year and even beyond if the issue of jobs is left to market forces.

That is why the Government is working with the private sector to get Singaporeans hired through temporary assignments, attachments and traineeships now, said Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam.

This way, people can get real work opportunities and get paid. They can also pick up skills while waiting for permanent jobs to open up.

The reality, Mr Tharman said, is that Singapore now faces strong headwinds. As long as grave uncertainty hangs over the global economy and trade and travel remain disrupted, job losses here are likely to outweigh job openings.

Singapore has been preparing for this but the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the need for changes, Mr Tharman said.


That is why the Government is investing heavily in reskilling and upskilling the majority of Singaporeans who still have jobs, and it has also expanded training opportunities through the Next Bound of SkillsFuture.

For a start, the public sector will bring forward hiring for future jobs in areas such as healthcare, early childhood development, education and social services, Mr Tharman added.

Mr Tharman said the National Jobs Council is moving "full speed ahead", and will secure the 100,000 jobs and training places targeted by the SG United Jobs and Skills Package.

He said the Government's first priority is to save jobs, and this is not just an economic issue, but a social one.

Mr Tharman said: "We will do all we can to prevent people from being out of work for long, so they can stand on their own feet and retain their sense of dignity.

"Good jobs are also at the heart of our whole approach to building a cohesive society and tempering inequalities."

He urged Singaporeans to take on the challenge of learning new skills.

"Everyone should have the courage to re-gear to stay on track, and make the effort to acquire new skills at regular points in your careers, possibly even learning whole new disciplines."