The National Trades Union Congress’ (NTUC) Employment and Employability Institute (e2i) and the Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF) have inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to create greater synergy between employers and job seekers. This move aims to strengthen the Job Security Council (JSC) ecosystem to drive better wages, work prospects and welfare for our workers; and better support the more than 3,300 SNEF-member employers in their business and workforce transformation efforts.
The strengthening of the NTUC JSC was proposed by the NTUC-SNEF PME Taskforce (PME TF) in October 2021, as one of the nine recommendations to alleviate the challenges faced by professionals, managers and executives (PMEs). The PME TF’s objective was to identify and address the aspirations and concerns of PMEs in the workplace; strengthen their employment and employability; and enable PMEs to compete fairly and more effectively in the labour market. These recommendations were proposed after a series of ground engagements with over 10,000 PMEs, union and business leaders and submitted to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM).
Managed by e2i, the NTUC JSC was established in February 2020 to minimise the impact of retrenchments on workers by helping them find good jobs quickly. The JSC aims to create an ecosystem of hiring and releasing employers, to preemptively shorten the unemployment period of workers. During the COVID- 19 pandemic, the JSC facilitated the mass movement of workers from companiesthat experienced steep decline in business (e.g., those in the tourism sector) to companies that needed to quickly ramp up operations (e.g. those in the healthcare sector) via its ‘Lift and Place’ mode.
As the world emerges from COVID-19, industries that had been badly hit are now on the rebound and Singapore’s total employment in 1H2022 has recovered to above pre-pandemic levels. In the now tight labour market and with fewer retrenchments, the JSC will evolve beyond placement and shift towards building up capabilities towards higher productivity. Learning from the experiences gleaned from COVID-19, e2i will also develop and institutionalise the ‘Lift and Place’ model by identifying adjacent industries requiring workers with similar job skills. This will enable the mobilisation of workers to hiring companies when the need arises. In line with this focus, this partnership between the e2i and SNEF under the MOU will facilitate the matching of workers to good job opportunities in SNEF-member companies both in good and poor economic conditions.
For example, with SNEF onboard, the enhanced JSC opens up possibilities of a pilot programme with SNEF-member companies, to place job seekers, especially the younger PMEs in their overseas offices. The duration of the ‘overseas work- and-learn’ stint will vary depending on the needs of the employers. Such work experiences help to broaden and enrich workers’ experiences, and develop them to be more versatile and adaptable, hence a win-win for both company and worker. The JSC is working to bring onboard a small number of companies to pilot this concept in line with interest expressed by both companies and younger PMEs.
Beyond matching skilled workers to good jobs, the partnership will also include efforts to upskill the workforce to seize emerging opportunities and prepare workers for future career transitions. For example, mid-career professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) can be reskilled to take on new roles through various Career Conversion Programmes (CCP) across industries.
To emerge stronger from the pandemic, companies have to reassess priorities, work processes and even overhaul operations. Jobs may need to be redesigned and workers need to upskill or reskill to meet new job skills requirements. With the collaboration from this MOU, SNEF members that embark on business and workforce transformation will be better placed to understand and tap on support offered by the Labour Movement. For example, SNEF members that have formed Company Training Committees (CTC) can not only access Operation & Technology Roadmap (OTR) sessions to identify transformation strategies; they can also access the NTUC CTC Grant to translate transformation strategies into actionable outcomes, such as technology adoption and job redesign to drive business and workforce transformation. For more information, visit www.e2i.com.sg/ctc.
NTUC Secretary-General, Mr Ng Chee Meng said, “As our economy and businesses recover from the pandemic, NTUC’s Job Security Council also had to evolve to ensure that we continue to support the comprehensive needs of our workers. NTUC and SNEF have always worked closely to create win-win scenarios for our workers and employers, and today, we are taking that one step further by integrating SNEF’s network of employers into the JSC ecosystem. This move aims to provide a one-stop service for job seekers, so that they can come to e2i to get career guidance, upskill or learn new skills, and also find good jobs with employer partners. As we value add to a job seeker’s overall experience, we also ensure that employers have access to qualified and skilled talents. This is one way that both businesses and workers can prosper and thrive together.”
SNEF Vice President, Mr Tan Hee Teck, said “Despite the economic headwinds that confront the Singapore economy, many employers are still facing manpower and skill shortages. Through this partnership with NTUC JSC, SNEF hopes to help to place and train more PMEs to support employers in meeting their manpower needs and redesigning their jobs to be more attractive and productive. Feedback from SNEF members also suggest that employers are keen to work with Singaporeans who can take on global and regional roles as well as to help local companies internationalise. SNEF will continue its discussions with tripartite partners and employers to better support our local PMEs to further advance their careers.”
e2i CEO, Ms Caryn Lim shared, “e2i will work with SNEF, employers and tap on our Labour Movement network to prepare and build a resilient and relevant workforce as industries transform. With SNEF’s support for the Job Security Council, we can connect our job seekers to more companies and opportunities and at the same time fulfil the job matching and employment needs of companies. With the new NTUC CTC Grant, we aim to give that needed boost for companies to walk their transformation map, and ultimately uplifting workers in their capabilities and employability.”
Future Forward Conference on 17 October 2022
To further discuss how Singapore companies and workforce can build up their capabilities, e2i and SNEF also organised a dialogue, “Future Forward with Workforce and Business Transformation Conference”, with 200 company representatives after the MOU signing, to discuss how Singapore companies can build up their workforce capabilities. Comprising of mainly employers from small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and human resource practitioners, the conference touched on the opportunities and challenges for the Singapore economy and how businesses and their workforce can transform and maintain competitiveness.