When jobs are scarce, what can vulnerable workers do to find jobs?

TL;DR — The iron rice bowl is the skills and networks you have, not the job.

“Is there ever an iron rice bowl?” asked my friend, a corporate trainer, as we had lunch last year.

I thought about it.

MNC jobs were not as stable as they used to be. Civil service jobs were pretty stable, but I knew friends who quit because of various reasons to do their own thing or go into the private sector.

“I’m not sure anymore,” I replied to my friend.

“Jobs change so quickly. Just a few decades ago, we produced mosquito coils and socks. But now, disruption is the norm.”

He looked at me with all the wisdom he had acquired over the years in both corporate and freelancing, and said, “The iron rice bowl is in you. Not the job. It is what you have acquired that makes you be able to find a new job even if your existing job is gone. Your skills, knowledge, networks etc.”

The iron bowl inequality

For workers who are more mobile, physically, digitally and possessing the ability to scale up their skills, knowledge and networks, being an iron rice bowl worker could be achievable.

However, not every Singaporean is this privileged.

Vulnerable workers, among which are the low income and mature workers, find it extra extra hard to secure and stay in jobs.

That’s why social enterprise Findjobs made it their mission to help blue-collar workers find jobs.

Findjobs was created by brothers Ivan Lim (left), chief product officer, and Stanley Lim (right), founder and CEO. (via)

Findjobs makes job-searching for blue-collar and mature workers as easy as possible.

In an earlier interview with Unscrambled.sg, Findjobs Stanley Lim explained:

“For a start, you do not need to create an account to use. You don’t even need to create a CV yourself. The app takes care of all these and even helps you to translate it into different languages (Findjobs also has Chinese and Malay versions) for the convenience of the HR department. We even added voice functions for job-seekers who can speak and understand Mandarin but are not too good with reading Chinese job description.”

In April 2019, Findjobs launched their Smart Job Kiosks at NTUC’s e2i to help walk-in jobseekers find jobs on the spot (via)

How can vulnerable workers find jobs especially when jobs are scarce due to the Covid-19 pandemic?

Since the Covid-19 outbreak escalated this year, Findjobs’s Chief Product Officer Mr Ivan Lim noticed an increase in the numbers of recently “jobless” workers.

“As our platform serves mainly the lower wages and offline workers, it has been brought to our attention that we need a more ‘wrap around’ support to onboard these workers into new jobs as quickly as possible.”

“Doing our small part to help these workers, Findjobs will be piloting an initiative called ‘100 jobs for 100 Singaporeans’ where we will advocate to employers to create jobs to hire Singaporeans. Under this initiative, Findjobs will absorb all job advertisement fees as well as provide a free ‘recruitment matching service’ (our parent company is a licensed employment agency).”

“Yes! It’s totally free for employers to hire Singaporeans through us. This pilot initiative is supported by e2i and raiSE Singapore.”

Findjobs and e2i regularly organise pop-up booths around Singapore to help vulnerable find jobs conveniently (via)

“Looking ahead, we may be expecting more and more older workers especially retired PMETs who wish to continue working by choice. Due to their age, these workers may not have the stamina for full employment and may have problems returning to the workforce. I would like to explore some solutions for this group of ‘active seniors’. Let’s look forward to an era of ‘micro jobs’!”

The government is also making it more attractive to companies to hire and retain Singaporean workers. In the Resilience Budget, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat announced $16.4 billion to save workers’ jobs, support them and protect livelihoods.

Ivan shares,

“To me, the Resillience Budget only reinforced my thinking that we have such a good government unmatched by all in the world. I’m proud and grateful to be a Singaporean. The Jobs Support Scheme is my favourite. It helps our local businesses at such a challenging period and also protects thousands of jobs belonging to our fellow Singaporeans which may otherwise be at risk.”

Under the Jobs Support Scheme, government will co-fund at least 25% of local wages. Food services sector will be funded 50% of wages. Aviation and tourism sectors will be funded 75% of wages. (via)

Unemployment benefits are temporary, but having a job is the best welfare.

Besides Findjobs, do you know of any avenue for vulnerable workers to find jobs? Share with us in the comments below.


(Featured photo via)

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Jules of Singapore

Author Jules of Singapore

I live to travel, to countries, through perspectives, to share the journeys that make us human.

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