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Written Answer by Mrs Josephine Teo Minister for Manpower to PQ on Outreach Efforts to Freelancers and Self-Employed Persons below 35 to Create Awareness about Career Opportunities and Progression


MP: Ms Rahayu Mahzam

To ask the Minister for Manpower what are the existing efforts in reaching out to younger freelancers and self-employed persons who are below the age of 35 to create awareness about opportunities for career progression.



  1. Over the past decade, the share of those who did self-employed work as their main job, i.e. primary self-employed persons (SEPs)1, remained stable at 8% to 10% of our resident workforce. In 2018, 17% of primary SEPs were aged below 35. In comparison, 31% of regular employees were aged below 35.Youths below 35 are therefore not over-represented among the self-employed.
  2. Young Singaporeans have opportunities to learn about various occupations starting from school. In particular, the Institute of Technical Education (ITE), polytechnics and universities provide education and career guidance (ECG) to help students make better-informed choices as they transit into the workforce. These efforts include learning journeys to companies, workshops with industry representatives, and career fairs. Also, with the support of ITE and polytechnics, Workforce Singapore piloted its Career Starter Programme early this year for graduating students.
  3. Complementing these efforts are the MySkillsFuture Portal and the MyCareersFuture Portal. The MySkillsFuture Portal is a key resource for all workers, including SEPs, to easily access information on industries and occupations, as well as tools to support their training and career development. The MyCareersFuture Portal enables SEPs who seek career progression via regular employment to locate suitable jobs more easily.
  4. The Ministry of Manpower is also working with our tripartite partners and other government agencies to raise awareness about skills training for SEPs.
  5. For example, since 2016, the National Trades Union Congress’ Freelancers and Self-Employed Unit (U FSE) has hosted annual Freelancers Fairs. Besides providing useful information, such fairs highlight opportunities for skills training for SEPs.
  6. Sector agencies also provide training support to SEPs. For example, insurance agents can tap on industry competency standards and training subsidies under the Institute of Banking and Finance to acquire expertise in financial planning and future-enabled skills. Media freelancers and professionals may refer to the Skills Framework for Media, which is a useful guide on job roles, skills required and possible career pathways. The Infocomm Media and Development Authority (IMDA) also provides funding support to SEPs, in particular media freelancers, to encourage them to acquire deeper skills and competencies through a list of pre-approved courses. In addition, in occupations such as insurance and real estate agents, SEPs are required to go for regular training and assessment to maintain their professional qualifications.
  7. The Ministry encourages individuals, including young persons, to tap on these efforts and initiatives to find out more about the prospects for career development in their desired occupations.


  1. 1. SEPs here refer to ‘own account workers’ who operate their own trade or business without hiring any paid employees. SEPs do not include other self-employed categories such as ‘employers’ and ‘contributing family workers’.