TL;DR – It includes 9 recommendations to better support professionals, managers, and executives (PMEs).
The Joint NTUC-SNEF PME Taskforce has released its recommendations report today after consultation with more than 10,000 professionals, managers, and executives (PMEs), union leaders, and business leaders.
This report includes recommendations aimed at supporting mature PMEs in their 40s to 60s, who are particularly concerned about age discrimination.
Labour MP Patrick Tay replies ST forum writer: Task force to release findings on supporting PMEs
Key challenges and needs of Mature PMEs
In an online survey conducted in July 2021 on 1,000 mature PMEs, the majority of mature PMEs expressed challenges in employment search and attributed age as the key reason.
Half of them expressed that they faced some form of discrimination during the job search or at their workplaces and some also have the perception that companies are not being open to hiring workers who are aged 40 and above.
Compared to the younger PMEs, mature PMEs also face heavier financial obligations such as elderly parents to support; school-going children to support; mortgages; loans; and other bills to pay. Health issues may also begin to set in and may result in unexpected expenses. As such, mature PMEs also reflected that they require support in areas such as compensation and benefits, job security, and career development.
They felt that having measures such as short-term salary support, support in employment, and training opportunities will help improve their employability.
Joint NTUC-SNEF PME Taskforce’s recommendations to help mature PMEs
To better support the PMEs, especially the mature PMEs, the joint NTUC-SNEF PME Taskforce has developed nine recommendations designed to strengthen PMEs’ employment and employability.
Specifically for the mature PMEs, the task force has recommended providing unemployment income support to those who are involuntarily unemployed since this group of workers tends to have a longer time to return to the workforce.
In addition to the unemployment income support, the task force also recommends introducing a short-term salary support for hiring companies who hire mature PMEs. This will help companies to lower the cost and risks when they hire mature PMEs with relevant skills and help mature PMEs to transit into meaningful employment at the same time.
Besides supporting mature PMEs with training courses and mentorship programmes, the task force also recommends implementing more fast-track training programmes with certification.
NTUC-SNEF PME Task Force’s Nine Recommendations
1. Enhance fair employment practices through
- Improving human resources standards
- Strengthening enforcement on errant companies that adopt unfair practices
2. Strengthen the Singaporean core through Differentiating foreign worker access by occupations
- Enhancing the Employment Pass application review process
- Facilitating skills transfer to local PMEs
3. Widen support for PMEs
- Through reviewing the legislation on their representation.
- A tripartite workgroup can be set up to look into the scope of union representation of PMEs.
4. Strengthen unemployment income support for PMEs by:
- Introducing a support framework to provide supplementary income relief and assistance to those who are involuntarily unemployed, supported by active labour market policy. Active labour market policies refer to initiatives that encourage people to stay employed, such as ensuring that people are actively sending out resumes or attending job fairs before they can qualify for handouts.
- Providing an additional tier of support for all union members and/or vulnerable mature PMEs
5. Assist mature PMEs to transit to meaningful employment through:
- Short-term salary support for companies who hire them
- Supporting training courses and mentorship programmes for relevant roles
- Fast-track training programmes with certification
6. Build Singaporean leadership bench strength by:
- Supporting leadership development programmes for Singaporean PMEs
- Facilitating global development of Singaporean talent
7. Provide customised career coaching support to PMEs
- Supporting and expanding the funding of career coaches with NTUC or SNEF, allowing them to guide PMEs in companies.
8. Develop structured jobs and skills plans for PMEs
- This can be done through leveraging the company training committees under NTUC to help upskill workers in line with business and industry requirements.
9. Strengthen the nexus between tripartite partners to prepare the workforce for economic transitions and investment pipelines
- Repositioning the existing Job Security Council under NTUC as a joint NTUC-SNEF Jobs Security Council to strengthen the jobs ecosystem
- This joint body can work with the Ministry of Manpower and the relevant government agencies to improve employment prospects and create good jobs for Singaporeans
- Ensuring that training needs are incorporated into the curriculum of institutes of higher learning, in tandem with the fast-changing economic landscape
Championing and advocating for the PMEs
NTUC secretary-general Ng Chee Meng, who is an adviser to the PME task force, said that the task force’s priority was to protect Singaporean PMEs’ jobs and help them achieve progression as Singapore’s demographic continues to shift towards having more PMEs in the workforce.
“In the past… we will iron out all the discussions and arguments behind closed doors and then present to you as a set of policies,” he said.
“We are doing it somewhat differently. We want to really hear the ground … we wanted to hear raw feedback without necessarily constraining what are the possibilities in terms of solutions.”
Labour MP Patrick Tay who has been lobbying and advocating for a strong Singaporean core since 2011 added that while there are things that the Labour Movement feel very strongly about and are voicing and advocating it, however, it is for the Government to respond and to do a deeper dive and think about as it affects policies.
Urging for more PMEs to join the union as members, the Labour MP said: “I encourage PMEs to join our unions as members so that we can effectively speak up for them and provide them the much-needed support as a collective voice.”