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Schemes in place to encourage the hiring of older PMETS

  • TODAY (29 July 2016): Schemes in place to encourage the hiring of older PMETs
  • TODAY (19 July 2016): Hiring fallacies adding to displaced PMETs' woes

Schemes in place to encourage the hiring of older PMETs
- TODAY, 29 July 2016

  1. We refer to the letter ("Hiring fallacies adding to displaced PMET’s woes”, 19 July) by Mr Lim Teck Koon.
  2. Mr Lim expressed concern over a possible market failure in the hiring of older professionals, managers, executives or technicians (PMETs), where better qualified older PMETs may be passed over for younger candidates who are cheaper and assumed to be able to learn fast, or because hiring managers are not comfortable managing someone more experienced than themselves.
  3. Employers should recognise that mature PMETs bring a wealth of experience and expertise that can benefit a company. Besides having a portfolio of skills and knowledge, their longer career experience can also help them to work effectively with people, solve problems, and guide and mentor their co-workers.
  4. All companies are expected to abide by the principles of fair employment under the Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices, which states that employers should “recruit and select employees on the basis of merit”. Hiring on the basis of merit, regardless of age, makes good business sense, especially in this tight labour market. It is also the right thing to do.
  5. It is precisely to address the potential market failure described by Mr Lim, that the Career Support Programme (CSP) was launched. Some employers are uncertain about hiring a mature PMET who has been out of work for 6 months or more. However, if they are willing to try, we will subsidise up to 40% of their wage cost for up to 12 months.
  6. This allows the employer to see if there is a good fit. The CSP also provides mature PMETs with the opportunity to demonstrate the value that they can bring and provides employers with the opportunity to leverage on their wealth of experience. Since May 2016, employers who hire mature PMETs who have been made redundant can also receive wage subsidies under the CSP.
  7. To date, more than 140 companies have hired mature PMETs under the CSP. Companies hiring or looking to hire eligible mature PMETs can apply for the CSP by registering with Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA) or the Employment and Employability Institute (e2i).
  8. Besides the CSP, the Ministry of Manpower has also strengthened employment support for mature PMETs through the Professional Conversion Programmes (PCPs) and P-Max. For PMETs making a career switch, PCPs provide wage and training subsidies to companies which first hire and then train eligible PMETs to take on new positions. Companies that hire mature PMETs receive higher support under the PCPs. PMETs can also be matched with Small and Medium Enterprises through P-Max.
  9. Taken together, these initiatives under Adapt & Grow will offer more opportunities for mature PMETs to find employment and be equipped with the relevant skills.
  10. We encourage individuals to visit WDA’s website and e2i’s website for more information.

Hiring fallacies adding to displaced PMETs' woes
- TODAY, 19 July 2016

  1. I refer to the The Big Read article “Despite help, displaced PMETs find the ‘perfect cocktail’ to a new career elusive” (July 16).
  2. While reskilling, relearning and lowering salary expectations are emphasised as the conditions of getting back in the game, the problem of market failure aggravating the situation cannot be ruled out.
  3. Better-qualified older professionals, managers, executives or technicians (PMETs) have been passed over because inferior younger candidates are cheaper and are assumed to be able to learn fast.
  4. The belief that younger, cheaper workers will be equivalent to experienced workers in due course, in terms of competencies and contribution, is not self-evident. This can be a red herring for hiring managers who are younger than senior job applicants.
  5. The real reason could be that these managers do not feel comfortable managing workers who are more experienced than them. Another reason could be that firms making hiring decisions see the cost but not the benefit.
  6. This is a market failure because an efficient allocation of economic resources did not occur — the most suitable applicant was not hired.
  7. When this happens on a large scale, with thousands of unemployed PMETs, it is a misallocation of resources within the economy.
  8. This should not be seen solely as structural unemployment, as the older PMETs have the appropriate skills, are superior and would have been more productive had they been hired.
  9. They could create more economic value per dollar spent by employers, but are not hired, while less productive but younger workers are.
  10. So besides retraining and helping unemployed PMETs learn new skills, the authorities should look at policy measures to address this market failure. This can only be good for the economy, firms and displaced PMETs.