Monday, April 6, 2009

So what if our own unemployment rate is rising? That shall not stop us from giving away jobs to our friends like the Philippine!

Again, we see the unemployment rate going up. And again, we are told that the only way to ensure that we stay employed is to enroll ourselves into yet more training, because training to have better skill is believed to be a better long term investment.

If you own a company which is losing so much money that the only way to keep yourself afloat is to cut cost, what kind of cost will you cut? Sell away some assets? That will take time and usually it does not make sense if selling away assets may mean cutting your revenue down even more, or worse, render it impossible to even continue with normal operation.

Almost definitely, cutting variable costs like operation cost is a better option. Operation cost like labour cost. And the best part of cutting labour cost is that, at a time of crisis like now, you could easily and safely take away a couple of headcounts and the ones left behind will still work their asses off to cover the work that were done by those that left. These days, for fear of losing their jobs, workers are willing to do anything and everything.

As for training? I suppose that will be the last thing on your mind.

Unemployment rate for Q1 likely to be higher than Q4 2008

SINGAPORE: With the first three months of 2009 just over, Singapore's Manpower Minister, Gan Kim Yong, said the unemployment rate for the first quarter of this year is likely to be higher than the last three months of 2008.

Speaking to reporters at a community event on Sunday, he said while his ministry is seeing more retrenchment notices being issued, schemes like the Skills Programme for Upgrading and Resilience (SPUR) is helping companies cut costs to save jobs.

Detailed statistics about the job market in the first quarter of this year will be released shortly, said the manpower minister.

But as the economy has yet to recover, the ministry's immediate focus is the unemployment situation and it will continue pressing on with the various schemes like SPUR and Jobs Credit Scheme to tackle the downturn.

Mr Gan said: "SPUR, Jobs Credit Scheme and the Workfare Income Supplement Scheme - so many programmes have been put in place, and we will continue to work hard with the tripartite partners to help our workers cope with the downturn.

"But we cannot just focus on the downturn. We still have to focus on the longer term fundamental issues, such as re-employment, employment of older workers and women. This is because when the economy recovers, the labour market will tighten again and so we must ensure we have this source of workers to support our economic growth in future."

Mr Gan believes SPUR has been very successful in the last four months. He said it has helped many companies reduce the number of workers who could have ended up being retrenched. With SPUR in place, some companies have decided to defer retrenchment and make a decision later.

But how quickly the Singapore economy recovers depends much on external factors like the global economy's performance.

Mr Gan said: "We must prepare ourselves for another few quarters of downturn. What is more important now is to focus on managing the downturn and managing costs so that we can save more jobs.

"Sometimes during a downturn, restructuring is inevitable and some retrenchments are unavoidable. If employees are retrenched, we want to reach out to them to help them to upgrade themselves and increase their employability so that they can find jobs faster."

Mr Gan added that there are several sectors in Singapore which have job openings and his message to job seekers is to be flexible and consider sectors they may not have worked in before.

Interesting that Mr Gan has proudly mentioned and reminded us of the Job Credit Scheme. Accordingly, this is how the Job Credit Scheme works: "The Jobs Credit that an employer receives will comprise 12% of the first $2,500 of the wages of each employee who is on the CPF payroll. It will be given in four quarterly payments, with each payment being based on the workers who are with the employer at the time. This will therefore provide incentive for employers to retain their local workers."

Again, as the owner of a company, will the Job Credit Scheme convince you to retain local workers? According to an example quoted, for a worker whose wage is $2,500, an employer will get $900 a quarter, or $300 a month. But what if you were to retrench this local worker and replace him with a foreign worker? Do you think it is going to be difficult to search for a foreign worker who is willing to work for $2,200 a month? Hell, it is likely that you could even get one to work for you for less than $2,000 a month! Now which route really and seriously saves you more cost?

Finally we could place ourselves in the shoes of companies that do not hesitate to retrench, even local companies like Flextronics and Chartered Semiconductors. We could understand now why we are still losing our jobs and we could even emphasize with them. And now we could start to ponder upon whether the Job Credit Scheme really works. Starting from this report of retrenchments happening after the Job Credit Scheme was announced: JobCentral Retrenchment Watch

Oh... and look! To make our unemployment rate even more impressive next quarter, our country is giving away jobs for free to other countries! A really kind gesture from us as a friendly neighbour. Singa will be so proud.

5,000 jobs available in Singapore
Source: Manila Standard Today

President Arroyo said some 5,000 new jobs will be available for Filipinos in Singapore with the expansion of the Resort World at Sentosa Island.

Mrs. Arroyo said the country has sent a delegation to Singapore last month to explore possible job opportunities for migrant Filipino workers in the face of a global economic crisis.

Administrator Jennifer Manalili of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration said she went to Singapore last month with Labor Secretary Marianito Roque to discuss available slots for Filipino workers with Resorts World chief executive Tan Hee Teck.

“They are expanding and there will be openings for workers for hotels, casinos and performers,” Manalili said.

“Universal Studios will also have a theme park so they told us they want to hire Filipino talents and performers. They noted that Filipinos are good in music and in dance so they might come here to conduct auditions either next month or in June,” she added.

Manalili said the government will send a team again in early May to “finalize discussions and requirements for Filipino workers.”

Resorts World plans to open four of its six hotels by the first quarter of 2010 and expects to fill up some 10,000 job vacancies.

Of these available positions, 3,000 will be for the casino, 3,000 for theme park operations and about 4,000 for hotel and other entertainment facilities.

About 46,000 Filipinos working in the country have been adversely affected by the global crisis while some 5,700 migrant workers were laid off.

Earlier, Roque said more than 100,000 jobs are also available in Qatar while other emirates within the United Arab Emirates are also prepared to absorb Filipino construction workers who were laid off in Dubai.

The public and private sectors are also prepared to provide close to one million domestic jobs, of which about 700,000 will come from the government and 120,000 from the business process outsourcing sector.




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