NTUC MP Patrick Tay: Let’s talk about JOBS

By May 15, 2020Current

TL;DR – He shared useful tips for working Singaporeans, and also links for job-seekers!

So, NTUC MP Patrick Tay has a 4-part series of Let’s talk about _____ for the month of May. Every Friday, he will be online to chat with his residents, working Singaporeans and whoever else interested.

Here, you can check out the topics for for the four sessions, two of which have already happened!


Oops, I’m late and hehe, have just caught up with his first session, Let’s Talk about JOBS. That happened last Friday (8 May), 8pm.

While many Singaporeans are now still worried about the Lives part of the COVID-19 pandemic, the other just-as-worrying part is about Livelihoods.

Without doubt, we can expect a global financial crisis coming. In fact, most countries are already seeing signs of slowdown as economies are shut down for these few months. Economists and analysts are saying this is going to be the worst global economic downturn, ever. Some are even saying this is going to be more drastic than the Great Depression in the 1930s.

So yes, we should be worried about our jobs and income streams.

Even if you’re holding onto a job right now, if your company is unable to pivot to triumph in the new normal, if your company is unable to transform and digitalise the operations, then it might just go under. It’s just a matter of time.

Right now, some businesses are able to survive because the Government has been supporting with the Jobs Support Scheme (JSS). The JSS offers businesses up to 75% wage subsidy for nine months. But once that is taken away, how many of these businesses can survive if, say, some of the circuit breaker measures have to stay for a while longer, and if borders continue to be closed?

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A recap from Patrick Tay’s Let’s Talk about Jobs (8 May)

During Patrick’s session last Friday, there’re some interesting sharing and tips from him in the Q&A segment. Here’s a quick recap.

Budget 2020: $60 billion

So far, the Singapore Government has announced three packages to help businesses and workers, namely, the $6.5b Unity Budget, the $48.4b Resilience Budget and the $5.1b Solidarity Budget. These packages aim to do the following:

  • Combat COVID-19 challenge
  • With enhanced support in light of accelerated spread of COVID-19
  • Manage impact of elevated safe distancing measures

Are you a job-seeker?

If you are a job-seeker, here are some resources for you:

NTUC Job Security Council Telegram: http://e2i.com.sg/Individuals/jsc

Attention, jobseekers! NTUC has launched 2 brand-new Telegram channels for job alerts


In the meantime, employees and/or job-seekers can use the downtime to pick up new skills or to deepen current skill sets. This works for new graduates too!

Is now a good time for career change?

Patrick: The key is to stay open to opportunities.

There are Professional Conversion Programmes (PCPs) or training placements in place to help the community move into new sectors or growing sectors. Understandably, at this point in time, employers will be extra careful, but keep your options open because you will never know.

What are some critical skills that you think people should be looking to learn during this period?

1) Technological / Digital skills – Navigating new softwares / Get comfortable handling technology

2) Deep skills in the domain you’re in – Make full use of this time to really study / home your skill sets

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3) Adaptive Skills – Get used to a new norm and stay flexible because the operating environment will be different.


There are still bills to pay, what if you’re retrenched from a fairly high paying job. How do we deal with the cost of living?

Patrick: On a personal level, stay mentally strong, resilient and positive. Stay connected to industry people and manage expectations. Whatever comes your way, try it out first. Restart and slowly work your way up,. On a national level, we are trying hard to preserve jobs in Singapore. Remember we are one community – look out for each other!

There are support measures such as the Temporary Relief Fund and COVID Support Grant for employees who have lost jobs or got significant pay cuts (of more than 30%). The Solidarity Payment of $600 to help with daily expenditure as well as SIRS for the freelancers and self-employed.

For some, circuit breaker = no income

How long will this last?

Patrick: Optimistically, end of the year.

But this is subjected to many others, Singapore is a trading hub, so we can interdependent on the global economy.  The war on COVID-19 will only truly be won when the whole world overcomes this virus.

Here’s the Let’s Talk about JOBS video in full,


The next two sessions, on Skills & Training and Employment Rights, look mighty useful too, so do catch them if you can!


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Qiqi Wong

Author Qiqi Wong

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