Friday, January 30, 2009

So where are the jobs for Singaporeans?

According to News article "Singapore's employment growth slows, jobless rate up at 2.6% in Q4" from

"Singapore’s unemployment rate in the last quarter of 2008 rose to a seasonally adjusted 2.6 per cent, up from 2.2 per cent in the third quarter on rising retrenchments with slowing employment growth and a weaker economy.

According to official data from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) released Friday, about 73,100 Singapore residents were jobless in December, a steep 58 per cent jump year-on-year."

So what do we do now? Where can we go now?

And in the article, Acting Manpower Minister Gan Kim Yong said:

"Some of them may have skills that have to be changed. Some of them may need to look for opportunities in other industries and some may need to go through conversion courses. Our tripartite partners are working with the various companies in the manufacturing sector to preempt retrenchments."

Skills that have to be changed? Look for opportunities in other industries? Go through conversion courses?

Let's take a look at the range of jobs found in some of the popular job recruitment sites:
  • Full Time Sales Co-ordinators. Must have a hunger for good sales result and be able to work retail hours including weekends.

  • Sales Executive. To establish new clientele, project manage account & meet sales target. Self-motivated, aggressive & possesses initiative. Must possess class 3 driving license. 5-day week.

  • HR/Admin Assistant.Proficient in Microsoft Office, 1-2 yrs relevant working experience. Mature & independent Willingness to learn & work with challenging timelines. Able to communicate with Chinese speaking staff.

  • Telemarketer. Part time / freelance telemarketer position. Cold calling in the evenings and weekends. Ideal for working personnel wanting to supplement their regular income. No product selling or appointment fixing. Calling to survey and gather data.

  • Accounts / Admin Assistant. Able to read Chinese & English Documents. 'O' Levels. Min 1 Year Experience. Good w Computers. Team Player. Good Attitude. Good Communication Skills. 5.5 Days.

  • Spa Therapists. Full Time Nail Station Manager required. Duties include training of new staff, stock taking, planning of staff schedule and normal work routines like manicure & pedicure. No requirements required, training will be provided.

Imagine you have a degree, and were working as a manager drawing a monthly pay up to $4,000. Which one of the jobs above will you apply for? Admin assistant? Sales executive? Or telemarketer?

If you were a System Application Manager from Sony, are you ready to exchange your IT skill with Sales skill so that you could be a Sales Executive?

If you were a Production Engineer from Chartered Semiconductors, are you ready to attend a training course to become a Nail Station Manager?

If you were a Financial Manager from Citibank, are you ready to work as an Accounts Assistant in the Shipping industry?

So what should these degree holders who used to be from middle management do now?

"There are bound to be other jobs for professionals, senior executives and managers!" you may say...
  • Jobs in MNC? Caterpillar to slash 20,000 jobs. Electronics giant Philips and banking group ING said they were slashing 13,000 jobs worldwide. So which MNC shall we look at now?

  • Jobs in large local corporates? Remember how they were previously encouraged to contract out their IT/Finance to India/China to save cost? So you think at difficult times like this, they have turned patriotic and decided to employ Singaporeans who will cost them more?

  • Jobs in SMEs? If they are paying you peanuts during the good times, what are you expecting from them during the bad times?

  • Jobs in Statutory boards or GLCs? With their known preference for local degrees over degrees from reputable worldwide universities, even the best in UK, what are your chances in getting the job? With their known preference for scholars to lead the companies, how far can you go in the company if you are not one?

  • Whatever jobs that are left?On top of competing with the other Singaporeans, you have to fight with the foreign talents that our country has opened the big wide door to. So you think you can work longer hours than them and receive lower pay than them?

Alas, friends, Singaporeans, countrymen! If you are holding a degree and working as a professional/senior executive/manager, pray hard that your job is here to stay!




  1. Have you read the papers?

    There're approximately 1.9million locals employed vs. roughly 1.3million foreigners snatching our ricebowls. Are there really that many foreign talents? I didn't know the gahmen considered the clearing of plates as a talent...

  2. couldnt have said it better myself

    job creation had been a farce, and the government action will largely create more mirage jobs

    our workforce is not able to compete for the same dollar, people with outwardly skills gravitate to jobs that literally profit from sales jobs offloading overly-priced goods/services to the gullible, the others, usually less-skilled find themselves fighting for rank-n-file jobs only to face unable to meet inflated costs of living.

    thats the inevitable course we are headed in 2009
    as the economy can no longer support the singapore dream just as our U.S. counterparts are

    the Job Credit Scheme (and the other measures) only beat "not doing anything" and doesn't solve the root job problems. creation... creation... creation

    only entrepreneurship and new ventures can create true jobs, not the posturing by our government and creating unnecessary spendings

  3. This is a very poorly written post, dumb-feeding and regurgitating the gloomy prospects we already know too well and the standard boring "throwing sarcasm at government" which is getting tiresome after a while.

    There was nothing original thoughts to add so I dunno why's tagline was "an alternative analysis". It is not alternative, it does not analyse. This is the feeding off the carcass of an issue until it's dry.

    Offer some fresh perspectives if you know the way forward for this country. Is it fiscal policy? Is it monetary policy? Which parts are not in the budget that should be? Which parts should not be in the budget but are inside? Please raise the standards of discussion, we ought to be much much better.

  4. when the country is in recession and the job market is bleak at least there is still a source of income from other jobs no matter how "under-qualified" it is.

    The saying beggars can't be choosy rings true here.

    Would you rather bum around earning zilch or at least take up the job offer till another better prospect comes up?

  5. This post is like saying, Hey we don't have jobs. Screw the government.


    Get a grip on reality. The fact is everywhere jobs are being lost and cut. You want to boot the foreigners out? Go ahead.

    But are you sure the employers will hire Singaporeans instead? If you have friends who are bosses, why don't you ask them. You might not get a flattering picture of the local workforce

  6. To address this issue, is to look back at what has already been laid out for Singaporeans. We all know that Singapore's only resource, is human resource. Any foreign investments that come in, local investments, will need teams of people, whether it be menial labour, or all the way up to management level.

    In turn, Singaporeans are the worker ants of the country, a fact that cannot be denied. We can study, study and study, to get that expensive piece of paper, here or overseas, and come back to get a job. Once we hit a downturn, retrenchments come, paycuts and what not. And then, we get the "chance" to get a job in another industry, albeit having to go through re-education, re-certification. Many people who go through this phase, start all over again in a new industry.

    You can see that this is a viscious cycle that will continue on. I think most people do not realise that few can really carve a permanent career in Singapore, as we have been expected to change industries, change jobs, accept pay cuts.... just to ensure that we will have enough people to fill vacancies and to ensure that the Singapore stays attractive to foreign investment.

    Its all about the economy, its not about you. The latest budget package can see that businesses stand to get the bulk of the salvage funds, and not the people. We're expected to depend on these traders, businesses to pass these on to us, in the form of not raiing prices, lesser burden on salaries. Though we need to realise that the actions these businesses take to help the people will be solely at their discretion and perogative.

    We're given offsets for GST (which, incidentally were raised so that we can title them as GST offsets)

    Yes, beggars can't be choosers, and so our quality of life is meant to stay this way. Be the workforce of Singapore, be true to Singapore, and follow what the country advises you. It has done the economy wonders, it has raised our reserve funds.

    It has also turned Singaporeans into beggars in a first class economy, and I;m not even starting to talk about foreign talents.

  7. such mentality is what makes a person loose his job in the first place. such sense of entitlement and full of excuses and blaming the government and everyone else except for himself.

    i own my company with 25 employees. i won't employ people who think this way.

  8. the fact is the rich needs the poor to become richer and the poor don't need the rich to become poorer.

    Why do humans continue to work just to serve the rich so that they can maintain their lifestyle?

    We are born with the the right to be pursue what we want to do in our lifetime. What is life we continue down this path. The fact that we are all born with our skillset and purpose in this life and the pay that one get must be equall across the board! The fact is we aren't born to serve the rich!

  9. Foreigners do the jobs of locals much better, much faster and at lower salaries! Don't get me wrong - I AM A SINGAPOREAN and these are my observations.

    Not born to serve the rich/poor - THAT is not the problem. You go where there are jobs.

    The real problem is this - there are many employers who'd go for youngsters (either with same or better qualifications compared to those older) because they are more easily "influenced" (or 'psychoed')! This really leaves the older employees LEFT OUT to fend for themselves.

    Also, many upgrade themselves through short courses etc but still, they are not able to get a job for the reason mentioned above.

    If a 25 year old is still jobless after months of job-seeking, what are the chances of older citizens getting a reasonably-paid job (even if it's a total career switch)??

    Penalise those employers whose employment criteria is AGE. Dennis Wee (property realtor) is one who does not employ receptionists above 30. PENALISE SUCH EMPLOYERS!

  10. Can someone tell me 1) how many ministers and staff emplyoed in Prime Minsiter's office, and among them 2) how many millionaries, 3) what is the costs per year to Singapore to feed these group of people, and 4) How many sales executives can be employed with their salareis

  11. From my point of view, most companies which i work for on contract basis, I see a high percentage of foreigners or foreigners that converted to Permanent Resident than Singaporeans.