Skip to main content

Written Answer by Mrs Josephine Teo, Minister for Manpower, to PQ on Effectiveness of Employment Assistance Scheme


MP: Zainal Sapari

To ask the Minister for Manpower (a) in the last two years, what has been the average and median length of time for workers in the different age groups to secure employment; and (b) whether the various employment assistance schemes provided to help workers in these different age groups to secure employment have been effective.



  1. The median duration of unemployment among all residents aged 15 years and over was 8 weeks in 2017 and 2018.

  2. In general, the median duration of unemployment rises with age, from about 5 weeks in 2018 for those aged 15 to 24 years, to 13 weeks in 2018 for those aged 50 years and above. The detailed breakdown of these figures is available in MOM’s Report on Labour Force in Singapore, published in January each year and available on MOM’s website.

  3. Through the Adapt and Grow (A&G) initiative, Workforce Singapore (WSG) and NTUC’s Employment and Employability Institute (e2i) offer employment facilitation services such as career coaching, employability workshops, job fairs and job matching. They also provide a suite of employment support programmes to help jobseekers take up new jobs and careers. In 2018, about 30,000 jobseekers found jobs through the A&G initiative, an increase of about 20% compared to 2017. Of these, close to 16,000 were aged 40 and above, with nearly 9,000 aged 50 and above.

  4. To support mature and older jobseekers in their efforts to secure good employment, the A&G initiative offers enhanced rates of training or wage support to employers that hire jobseekers aged 40 and above. For instance, the Professional Conversion Programmes (PCPs) help workers to reskill for new career opportunities as economic transformation continues apace. PCPs provide training and salary support to help jobseekers reskill and move into new occupations or sectors, with higher support for those aged 40 and above. Another A&G programme is the Career Support Programme (CSP), which provides salary support to encourage employers to hire mature retrenched PMETs.

  5. The Member asked if our employment assistance schemes have been effective. Overall, the Adapt and Grow initiative has produced encouraging results. In 2018, close to 5,000 individuals (including mature and older jobseekers) were placed through PCPs. Most PCP participants did well, with about 9 in 10 remaining employed 18 months after being placed, and about two-thirds receiving higher wages than before due to the skills they had acquired. As for CSP, over 1,200 individuals were placed in 2018. About 7 in 10 CSP participants remained in employment 18 months after being placed.

  6. While we are heartened by the good progress of A&G, we are also working to do better in three areas. First, we will strengthen A&G’s outreach so as to raise awareness of the support available to jobseekers. Second, we will continue to monitor the outcomes of existing programmes, and review or enhance them as necessary to improve their effectiveness. Third, we are moving upstream to help at-risk workers to stay relevant and re-skill for new roles.
  7. MOM and WSG will continue to monitor labour market outcomes for workers in each age group, and will work closely with our tripartite partners to help Singaporeans secure good jobs through the A&G initiative.