Singapore has a success story to boast of when it comes to reducing the unemployment numbers. After the 2008 financial crisis, the unemployment numbers rose to 200,000. However, they are getting back in shape as the numbers have declined to 33,000. However, the decrease in the numbers can be attributed in part to a low rate of births in the country and a quickly aging population. Economic uncertainties are also contributing in part to the rocky job market, even though the figures have shown a sharp decline.
The Ministry of Manpower has defined four key strategies to make unemployment rates go down further. Minister Lim Swee Say said that his goal is not only to create jobs for the residents but also to ensure that the job quality is better. He took technological disruption and slow economic growth into account during the parliamentary debate and said that the government is looking forward to follow these 4 key parameters:
Creation of quality jobs
The minister said that he is focusing on creating good quality jobs for everyone in the workforce. He is not worried about technological disruptions and feels that technology can be harnessed for the creation of better jobs in the country. He finds that global competition is more detrimental to Singaporean jobs than technology. Therefore, the workforce must work in association with technology to ensure that they stay in competition and gain an edge over others. The ministry has been running the Lean Enterprise Development Scheme (LEDS) for small and medium enterprises.
Raising adaptability of the workforce
The national jobs bank is being made more accessible and user-friendly to ensure that employers and job-seekers find each other quickly. The authority is focusing on making a one-stop, non-stop marketplace where job-seekers and employers can interact. This platform will be further linked with the Individual Learning Portfolio.
Ensuring complementarily and inclusiveness in job market
Local cohesion and working with the residents is becoming more important as each worker is now more valuable to the country. As the country’s population aging, more burden of responsibilities falls on a smaller workforce, making inclusivity and social strengthening important. He intends to make the foreign and local labor markets more competitive and leaning in to favor Singapore to improve its competitiveness. He also said that due to the lack of self-sufficiency, foreign workers will continue to pour in Singaporean job markets.
Fair and progressive workplaces
To create better workplaces, the ministry will be introducing the Employment Claims Tribunals (ECT) on April 1 along with the Tripartite Alliance for Dispute Management (TADM). These will help in making the workplaces more secure.
Singaporean government is making efforts to ensure that the labor market remains stable. The changes proposed by the minister will only start to show effect by the end of this year. We must wait for the year-end numbers to assess the situation.
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