SINGAPORE (Mar 20): In light of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak, the Singapore government has stepped up support for businesses to retain, recruit and reskill workers for new jobs.

This is according to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), following the release of its Job Vacancies 2019 report today.

MOM says that the Stabilisation and Support Package announced at Budget 2020 will help workers retain their jobs.

It adds that the package will also help workers upgrade their skills to be ready for new job opportunities when the economy recovers.

Enterprises, too, will receive support for keeping workers employed through the Jobs Support Scheme and enhanced Wage Credit Scheme.

MOM says it will work together with Workforce Singapore and the tripartite partners to step up efforts to help individuals reskill and access “good” jobs.

Under the SkillsFuture Mid-Career Support Package, the capacity of government reskilling programmes has been increased, it notes.

The salary support during the training period for mid-career rank-and-file workers has also been enhanced, it adds.

In addition, employers that hire and reskill jobseekers aged 40 and above will also receive an additional hiring incentive.

In particular, mid-career jobseekers will receive an additional $500 SkillsFuture Credit top-up, on top of the $500 Credit top-up for eligible Singapore citizens, to encourage them to reskill, MOM says.

According to MOM’s statistics, job opportunities were available across all sectors last year.

But these were found mainly in sectors, such as information & communications, public administration & education, professional services, financial & insurance services, and manufacturing.

MOM says 42% of the vacancies last year were for newly created positions as a result of business expansion and formation.

The growth sectors — ICT, professional services, financial and insurance services, wholesale trade and healthcare — had “above-average” proportion of vacancies for newly created positions, it notes.

MOM also highlights that employers placed greater emphasis on the candidates’ skills, work experience and attitude, than on academic qualifications.

This emphasis was relevant for 51% of PMET vacancies, such as software, web & multimedia developers, and commercial & marketing sales executives.

Meanwhile, a common challenged faced by employers when hiring for PMET vacancies was the lack of necessary specialized skills, says MOM.

For non-PMET positions, however, it was usually due to a mismatch in wage expectations, it adds.