(Singapore, Mar 4, 2020) Since the employment outlook for 2020 has become very uncertain, it will be a challenge for Singapore’s unemployment to remain in the relatively low range of recent years, Josephine Teo, Singapore’s Minister for Manpower, has said.

Addressing the MOM (Ministry of Manpower) Committee of Supply 2020, she said the island country’s first priority is to prevent large-scale job losses.

“Particularly for those earning lower salaries, we should also prevent a scaling back or reversal of wage increases,” she said.

Josephine Teo, Singapore’s Minister for Manpower

“This is why the biggest bulk – 60% of the Stabilisation and Support Package announced by DPM Heng goes towards Jobs Support and Wage Credits,” she added.

She also calls the local businesses to transform and keep creating good jobs in the longer run.

“We want wages at the lower end to move up more. We will help Singaporeans adapt to changing job requirements brought about by technology. The resident workforce will not expand as much as before,and we have more seniors,” she added.

The MOM will need to help both businesses and the people make the best of the opportunities available and address their anxieties, she said.

Many MPs also care about the Self-Employed Persons (SEP) who have been hard hit.

“I share their concerns and will announce more measures to support our freelancers,” she said.

“Another particular group we have been thinking about, are Singaporeans in their 40s and 50s. They too deserve fair opportunities to progress in their careers,” said the Manpower Minister, who though noted that the government sees it a daunting task for anyone in the middle of their careers to reskill for new jobs.

One key pillar of Mid-Career Support Package is the additional top up of SkillsFuture Credit which aims to empower persons in their 40s and 50s to refresh their skills,  complementing their employers’ training investments.

In terms of support to employers, the priority is to bring down the cost of recruiting and training for mid-career jobseekers.

“We must also keep up the pace of business transformation and job redesign,” she said.

From 1 April, Singapore will boost salary support for all workers aged 40 and above enrolled in “Place-and-Train” programs, from 70% to 90%. This pillar comes on top of very generous funding already available for the training components, she said.