Speech at Official Launch of the Jobs Bank by the Singapore Workforce Development Agency
Mr Tan Chuan-Jin, Minister for Manpower, the Lifelong Learning Institute
Mr Patrick Tay, Assistant Secretary General, National Trades Union Congress
Mr Ng Cher Pong, Chief Executive, Singapore Workforce Development Agency,
Ladies and gentlemen,
- Good morning. I am very happy to be here to officiate the launch of the Jobs Bank developed by the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA).
More Opportunities for Singaporeans through Jobs Bank
- The Jobs Bank marks a very significant milestone in our efforts to make job opportunities more transparent to local job seekers and facilitate better matching of job vacancies and local job seekers. Last year, at the Committee of Supply debate, I spoke about finding a sustainable way to develop our Singaporean Core and to give fair consideration to Singaporeans for job opportunities. This requires employers to change their mindsets and develop more progressive workplaces through better leadership and HR practices. We also have to help people to continually update their skills through education and training so that they can progress in their careers.
- But there is another issue. While many employers shared with us that they would like to develop a Singaporean Core in their workforce, they sometimes found it difficult to find suitable Singaporeans for the job.
- At the same time, unemployed Singaporeans told me about difficulties in finding and securing for themselves a suitable job. We are creating many job opportunities in our economy, but we need a better, more systematic way to match job seekers to vacancies.
- The Jobs Bank will complement existing Government efforts to provide another avenue for Singaporeans to explore and apply for job opportunities, as well as allow employers to access a larger pool of local candidates.
- Through the Jobs Bank, Singaporeans can:
• Explore job opportunities easily;
• Receive SMS or email alerts about the latest job opportunities;
• Create and upload their resumes which may be searched by employers;
• Directly apply for jobs with prospective employers; and,
• Access it 24/7 at their convenience.
- Singaporeans will be more empowered to make informed career choices and increase their chances of getting a successful job match.
- The Jobs Bank will be complemented by the advertising requirement under the Fair Consideration Framework (FCF). From 1st August 2014, employers who wish to apply for a new Employment Pass for a foreigner will have to first advertise the job vacancy on the Jobs Bank and consider Singaporeans fairly. Through the Jobs Bank, employers can broaden their outreach to Singaporeans while Singaporean job seekers will be able to view the jobs available.
A healthy take up rate for the Jobs Bank
- I am pleased to share that the Jobs Bank has been warmly received since it went ‘live’, with the beta version, in May 2014. As at 9 July 2014, more than 4,300 employers and 12,900 individuals have registered for an account on the Jobs Bank. Almost 16,000 job opportunities are currently available to Singaporeans. About 50% of the jobs advertised are PME-level jobs. We expect the number of job vacancies to grow over time as more employers and job seekers use the Jobs Bank.
- Many employers and Singaporeans have found the Jobs Bank useful to the job matching process. In the past one and a half months, about 4,700 local individuals had collectively made more than 12,100 job applications through the Jobs Bank. Madam Anthony Liana Muniamal, was one such user who successfully found employment through the Jobs Bank. She has 13 years’ of working experience. However, after being out of the workforce for a year to care for her young daughter, Madam Muniamal approached one of WDA's Career Centre in May this year to seek job assistance. With the guidance of her career coach, she actively used the Jobs Bank to search for jobs.
- Madam Muniamal applied for an Administrative Executive position at Ash Marine, a marine engineering firm that had come on board the Jobs Bank in early June 2014. Ash Marine had received multiple job applications from Singaporeans through the Jobs Bank, whom they interviewed. Within a week of posting the job opening on the Jobs Bank, they had hired Madam Muniamal. Madam Muniamal has since started her new job and is grateful to have secured a good job and stable income to support her eight-year-old child.
- Besides job seekers, employers also found the Jobs Bank useful for their hiring needs. One feedback we received was from DP information Network Private Limited, a leading credit bureau and business information organisation that provides credit advisory services to the local and regional business community. Their Senior General Manager, Ms Ong Siew Kim, and her team have used the Jobs Bank to source for Singaporean candidates since June 2014. Ms Ong shared that the job advertisement process on the Jobs Bank is seamless and they have received multiple job applications. Within a week of advertising on the Jobs Bank, Ms Ong successfully shortlisted and hired a Singaporean applicant for the position of Project Manager. As the Jobs Bank becomes fully operational from today, we look forward to having more successful job matches between employers and local job seekers facilitated through the portal
Call for greater stakeholder adoption of the Jobs Bank
- Since last year, WDA has been working hard to develop a simple, functional portal that is able to meet the needs of local job seekers and employers. Many industry stakeholders such as Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF), SME centres and Singapore Professional Recruitment Organisations (SPRO), as well as members of the public, were consulted to gather feedback and suggestions. WDA has tapped on various online and social media platforms to reach out to different stakeholders, as well as tested a prototype version of the Jobs Bank earlier this year. The feedback gathered has been invaluable, and a beta version was tested with more than 17,200 public users since May 2014, to validate its user-friendliness
- WDA is working with unions, industry associations, employer groups, government and community organisations to raise awareness of the Jobs Bank among employers and Singaporeans. Info-graphics and user guides were shared on the Jobs Bank website, various social media platforms and at networking sessions to help users navigate the portal. WDA will continue to share the features of the Jobs Bank with more users through its network of Career Centres.
- Many of you present today, whether individuals, employers and tripartite partners have come on board as early adopters of the Jobs Bank and have contributed useful suggestions to help refine the portal. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your close partnership with WDA and we look forward to your continued support as we evolve this platform.
- And as with all new systems, like new road networks and expressways, we recognise that the Jobs Bank is not perfect at its launch. I repeat, the Jobs Bank is not perfect at its launch. We welcome public feedback and WDA will consider all suggestions when they make future enhancements to the Jobs Bank. But I think the potential is quite tremendous, significant, I think it opens up the opportunity for us to support our people. It allows Singaporeans to have a better access to information about jobs available, and especially i think it will also help companies and employers to be able to search for Singaporeans who can meet their needs. So I think we need to gather the feedback. There will always be teething issues, but I think we look forward to future improvements of this particular platform.
- As the Jobs Bank complements existing job search platforms available in the market, WDA has also engaged private job portals to explore possible collaboration. More consultation sessions have also been planned in the coming months to develop a more comprehensive database of job vacancies.
- The Jobs Bank reflects the Government’s commitment to collaborate with tripartite partners, employers and Singaporeans to support fair consideration of Singaporeans for job opportunities. It is intended to benefit all workforce segments. We seek to build an inclusive platform that caters to a wide spectrum of employment and manpower needs. The active participation of employers and Singaporeans is crucial to shape the Jobs Bank into an effective job matching platform.
- I would like to once again thank all who have contributed to the Jobs Bank. I encourage all employers and Singaporeans, and especially for employers regardless of whether you are employing for Employment Pass type jobs or not, to really use the Jobs Bank for your hiring and job search efforts. With that, I would like to thank all of you who have made a tremendous difference in contributing to creating this platform. We have gone a long way to help make a difference to the people around us. And I look forward to your continued support.
- With that, thank you very much.