Oral Answer by Mrs Josephine Teo Minister for Manpower to PQ on local PMET employment outcomes
NOTICE PAPER NO. 1973 FOR THE SITTING ON 18 FEBRUARY 2020
QUESTION NO. 3462 FOR ORAL ANSWER
MP: Pritam Singh
To ask the Minister for Manpower (a) which industries find it difficult to attract or hire PMET Singaporeans; (b) what has been the success of initiatives of Singaporeans and local employers to address or improve the status quo in these industries; and (c) for PMET jobs held by foreigners and PRs arising from the lack of qualified Singaporeans to fill these positions, how does the Government monitor and track the skills transfer to, and the skills acquisition by, Singaporeans from PRs and foreigners over time.
- Based on MOM’s survey, sectors with higher proportions of PMET vacancies that employers indicated were hard-to-fill by locals include Information & Communications, Built Environment (including Construction), Professional Services and Manufacturing.
- Under the Growth Sectors Initiative that we started in 2017, MOM works closely with sector agencies to place locals into PMET jobs in sectors with good growth potential. A key thrust under this initiative is to reskill locals through our Professional Conversion Programmes (PCP) to take up good job opportunities. The Growth Sectors Initiative covers the four sectors which I mentioned earlier, as well as Finance and Insurance Services, Wholesale Trade and Healthcare. Locals comprise around 75% of employed PMETs in these growth sectors.
- Mr Singh asked about success of our efforts. Over the past three years, the Adapt and Grow initiative has helped more than 48,000 local jobseekers get placed in PMET roles. As a result of more focussed efforts under the Growth Sectors Initiative, Workforce Singapore and sector agencies have placed over 10,000 mid-career locals into PMET jobs in the growth sectors. We have helped locals take up a wide range of jobs including data analysts, digital advertising professionals and technical sales engineers. Over nine in ten PCP participants remained in employment two years after placement. Around seven in ten PCP participants earned higher salaries than before.
- PCP participants, such as Effandi Sajari, often have inspiring stories. Effandi spent close to two decades in the energy & power sector, managing projects that involved installing low voltage power network equipment across the island. In his 40s, he wanted a change in environment and to challenge himself.Last year, through the PCP for Electronics Assistant Engineer, he joined GlobalFoundries as a Senior Associate Engineer. He manages clean-room equipment to ensure optimal levels of humidity, temperature and pressure for wafer fabrication. He now earns about 10% more than at his previous job. Every day, we continue to help jobseekers like Effandi secure good jobs.
- On the member’s last question, the employment outcomes of our university and polytechnic graduates are a good indicator of whether we are helping Singaporeans acquire skills for PMET jobs in demand.Based on the latest Graduate Employment Survey, around nine in ten university and polytechnic graduates who entered the labour force were employed within six months after graduation or completion of their full-time National Service. This figure has remained stable over the past decade.
- Mature workers who have been in the workforce for some time have also made good progress. This is evident when we compare the education and employment profile of local workers aged 40 and over.About one in four of them joined the workforce with a local diploma or degree and can be expected to perform PMET jobs. But, in fact, about double, or one in two of these workers, are today holding PMET jobs. This is quite remarkable.
- Overall, the number and the share of employed locals in PMET employment have risen steadily over the years. The number of local PMETs grew from about 960,000 in 2009 to 1.3 million in 2019, while the PMET share of employed locals increased steadily from 51.4% to 58.3% over the same time period. If we look at Singapore citizens only, the trend is similar.
- These employment outcomes were not easily achieved.To sustain them, we must be able to (a) continue the momentum of good job creation, (b) motivate individuals to upskill or reskill, (c) promote employer commitment to fair hiring and progression, and (d) sustain government investments in education and training.To help Singaporeans, we must make every effort to keep up these efforts instead of focussing narrowly on displacing PRs and foreigners in our workforce.That is a zero-sum game which will cause companies to rethink locating their high value activities in Singapore.The end result will not serve Singaporeans’ best interests.