Friday, April 03, 2009

Unemployed PMETs Situation : Bad to worse......

PMET is an abbreviation for professionals, managers, executives and technicians. The employment prospects for a PMET above 40 is poor during the good times....and worse than poor during the bad times. During the good times, the govt coined this euphemistic term "structural unemployment" to describe the problem. The proposed govt solution has been the same in good times and bad- retraining, retraining, retraining. When retraining does not work, what does the govt propose? More retraining. Right now the govt is proposing to have more 40 conversion schemes for PMETs [Link]. Do you think they will solve the problem if they have 100 conversion schemes?...make that 200. The problem is not the skills but the age of these people and the ability of employers to practice age discrimination a.k.a ageism.

Why did employers take in those over-40s in the past...say 15 years ago? The reason is very simple. Singapore had a rather tight labor market so when the economy boomed employers couldn't find workers ddn't have much of a choice except to give those who were older a chance. The booming economy created opportunities for these people. When the recession came, they had as good a chance as anyone else of getting retrenched. If they became jobless, they had to struggle until the economy recovered before they got another shot at decent employment.....but that was the situation 15 years ago. What has changed?

When the PAP govt opened the floodgates for foreign workers, they also changed the demographics of our workforce. The supply of workers below the age of 30 became almost unlimited, given you can always find workers from India and China willing to come here. When the economy boomed in 2007/2008 the employers could employ hundreds of thousands of foreign workers. Instead of the labor market becoming tight creating opportunities for those over-40s, the influx of workers caused this group of Singaporeans to remained unemployed or underemployed during the boom.

% increase in employment (residents vs foreigners)

Chart taken from Online Citizen.[Link]

If the goal of the PAP govt simply wanted grow the GDP as fast as possible, it is easy to understand what they were trying to do. The huge influx of foreign workers caused the cost of living (e.g. rentals) to rise and the rapid growth of the economy caused it to overheat[Link : Singapore economy shows sign of overheating as companies hire workers at an unprecedented pace] .

The PAP continues to insist that its economic model is the best for ordinary Singaporeans but ordinary Singaporeans are beginning to ask : What's in it for us? Being forced to work until our old age burdened by the highest household debt in Asia while becoming increasing unemployable after the age of that something that we want for ourselves and our children? The wealth from this GDP growth distributed inequitably as the system results in an income gap comparable only to 3rd world nations.


Anonymous said...

Lucky, some companies are lowering the ageism bar, now resumes of people aged over 35 are discarded right away.

There is no hope for this country.

Ex-employment agency staff said...

Yeah, and if you're above 40 (or now 35), I strongly suggest skipping the employment agencies and applying to the company directly.

No future in Singapore.

Anonymous said...

This problem has been around for many, many years already!.

Yet there is always 66% mandate and 98% seats won at every election by PAP! And thanks to a weak or non existent opposition over 50% walkovers at every election. And no protests at all on the streets!

So why would the gahmen want to care about over 40s cannot get a job? Or want to prioritise for Singaporeans at all?

sgcynic said...

Straits Times reported MOM minister Gan Kim Yong say that that "official figures so far show that in the first nine months of last year, about one in three people made redundant - through retrenchments or early termination of contracts - was a foreigner.
This proportion is almost equivalent to the relative number of foreigners here as they form 36 per cent of Singapore's workforce.
But the redundancy figure is an underestimated number as it does not include employment contracts or work permits that are not renewed.
'So if you take them into account, numbers have been higher for foreign workers,' he notes."

Spinning to make the numbers look good? Then, 7 in 10 new jobs went to foreigners. Now, about 4 in 10 jobs lost are of foreigners. So? Still more Singaporeans get fired right? Where is the so-called buffer for job losses by foreigners?

Anonymous said...

Very simple, that backdoor minister of Ministry of Manpower has said "no to hiring Sporeans first."

Solution? The policy must change so vote out the PAP.

Anonymous said...

The answer to this and other problems is to have check and balance. And why dont we have check and balance? The root cause is not because of a weak opposition as many seem to think, it is because of the selfish 66% who sold their soul for pittance short term benefit and disregard the future long term good of the country.

Anonymous said...

sinkies in general follow what their gahment do.

gahment don't practice what they preach.
in the civil service, if by 40 u are not some big shot, u are a NOBODY.
if they are sincere they should lead the way & hire all 40s & above from now.

unfortunately its again another case of pretending to care & do what i say & not what i do.

Anonymous said...

May be all these national problems - insoluble as they are, based on my reading of so many articles and commentaries on Lucky' blog - are telling our people that this country is not suitable for living anymore.

So many SMEs and even large factories have moved out long ago due to high cost of business. The official figure reported in the news many years back was in excess of 10,000. The number by now could be several times that, 30,000 might be even a moderate one.

All these flights of capital and industries can be placed at the feet of PAP, its policy being that of despising its own local businesses as sunset industries from mid-80s onwards. Then some several years back the same PAP politicians started pleading for these industries to move back to Singapore. Fat hope.

Many have found better places to run their businesses be it Malaysia, China, Thailand, Cambodia ....

In the same way young Singaporeans should not to get stuck here unless they are doing well. Already more and more have already decided they do not intend to get married because they cannot afford to.

But why lock yourself in this place when you are young and healthy enough to go places.

You see if the young prefer want to stay here just because they like Singapore - which may well be a matter of getting used to the pace and environment only - they might not be able to support their aging parents in the years to come.

Instead their parents might have to support them in return such as in the area of lodging and further education which these young Singaporeans might think they need more of just to have a better income.

How bright can such a future be?

Since PAP has ruined this nation for its own interest but cannot be overthrown easily, a more pratical route is needed even though it might look uninviting at first look.

I have friends in their middle age who have ventured abroad in business and career to such places like Malaysia, China and Vietnam even though in some cases their families are still here.

I too am working and looking out for such opportunities, serious.

Anonymous said...

this means that every woman who graduate can only works if they find a job from 20 to 35 = 15 yrs if you are a woman it is even worse if you choose to stay at home. After your children grows up like 20 yrs later you are 40 which means your working life is over. What's the point of studying for 10 yrs or more and then only gets to works for 10-15 yrs. After that you can only works as bowls collector or what.

Anonymous said...

Our Ministars have million dollar iron rice bowls, you think they will stop for a moment to care whether there are enough decent jobs for Singaporeans over 35 ? I don't they have the time given that they are busy flying to France to attend cooking classes !

Anonymous said...

> If the goal of the PAP govt simply wanted grow the GDP as fast as possible,

Money! Money! Money!

Anonymous said...

"Sir, when the Prime Minister talks of defending our country, we find it hollow.

This Government has betrayed all the vital interest of the people to the British.

It has no right to talk of defending the nation"

Replace "British" with "Foreigners", and what Chia Thye Poh said still holds true today! PAP is simply our new colonial master, having taken over from the British!

Anonymous said...

Lucky, is there a way out of this mess? Will there be future for our children? There will be many more questions without answers as long as Singaporeans are happy with short term gains and they dont care with the way Singapore is governed.

choonway said...

The japanese are rather xenophobic (i.e. dislike foreigners). They wouldn't do it like us where we open the floodgates to foreigners.

So what do they do? They started automating everything.

They also protected their agriculture and livestock production. They never regarded it as 'sunset' industries. Farm automation in japan is way ahead of anybody else. Who would think of paying for a USD 1,000,000 semi-autonomous UAV helicopter (Yamaha R-MAX) to spray pesticides on crops (1)?

Recently these automation tools have been exported to developing countries such as India and Thailand (2,3) who are facing the same problems such as diminishing agricultural workforce.

The Japanese seemed to be heading the right way, while we went the wrong way.

Is our government responsive enough to reverse course and go down the automation route?

1. Yamaha RMAX

2. rice planting machine in india

3. rice planting machine in thailand

Anonymous said...

Ministers only have million dollar iron rice bowls because Singaporeans are too afraid to vote out PAP.

The ruling party shows more loyalty for a younger and cheaper FT than to a Singaporean.

Just what future are we voting for, when we keep voting in a government that doesn't believe in strong labour laws and looking after the best interests of its own people?

Now, we are to send our parents to die of old age in JB too??

Anonymous said...

The problem with importing foreigners and displacing locals goes beyond creating structural unemployment. It also stifles the development of local expertise. Why throw resources into the development of skills that the workforce currently is weak in when you can just import someone pre-trained?

But then again, why does it matter? An industry is not just the factory (which only provides jobs), it is an entire local ecosystem of suppliers, expertise and infrastructure. Singapore only has factories but not industries. That's why the PMETs are so expendable. Factories run on busywork, not expertise.

Anonymous said...

I really feel sorry for older Singaporeans. I'm glad I made the decisions many years ago to migrate to a country where ageism is made illegal under discrimination laws.

Employers have no right to ask for your age unless there is a justifiable reason and employees are not compelled to give their age. In fact, if an employer asks you for your age, you know something is already not right. What matters is the skills and experience you bring and what your asking salary is. If the prospective employee feels that he/she has been turned down simply on the basis of age, then the employee is able to bring the matter to court on grounds of the employer being discriminatory.

Unfortunately, I don't think such laws will ever be passed in Singapore. The usual reasons will be trotted out: can't work in practice, uncompetitive, discourage foreign investors blah blah. In fact because Singapore employers have a limitless supply of young 20and 30 somethings to hire from China, India, ASEAN etc, we have even more need for such laws.

Rialce said...

Eh~~suddenly I have an idea for companies to avoid the age discrimation thingy by not asking for your age, instead they could say,"Sorry, we are hiring singaporeans only...Your IC pls to prove..." and viola, you are automatically discriminated.

Localized said...

What to do?
Only Familee and crony have titanium/adamatium/iron rice bowl.

And by the way most of the FTs are way above 35. the only reason why they are still employed is because they are cheap enough and more willing to take credit for other people works or plagarize while locals have to attend a meaningless and time wasting service.

The point is in the past professionals can always start their own business to compete with their previous boss.
But the situation here is if they venture out on their own they will be rapidly take down by their previous boss(Singaporean) with connections. EG:- RC grassroot activities.
And the ground is tilted to those who flocked to be the pseudo majority.
But now they face the real problem.
Because that ground is open to enterprising New Citizens now.
As more Locals seek greener pasture overseas, the local Remote Controls are losing their grip on the populace.
In fact most of these are now consider a liability because they had lost their core audience and the new citizens prefer to keep to their own social ethnic group.
The main reason for that? They do not have to participate in any "nation building" aka free labour activities.

Onlooker said...

Why do these "Talent?" left their own country?

Most of these FT left their country because they cannot make it in their own country that is also why they can afford to be so cheap.And because no check is in place to check if they really have the relevant job experience.

Getting more sub standards only hurt our economy more.

Is it any surprise then that the productivity level that our PMET built up in the past is now demolished?
Then what is the difference in investing in China instead of Singapore?
And yes it is much tougher now to get business for Singapore product now.
Because all they need to start a business in China is the research result that is so conveniently available to them because they are cheap and they can reproduce it even cheaper in China via the shan zai route.
Then what is the point of making the product here in Singapore?
What the point of holding to an IP that can be taken back and copied in their own country?
And what the point of supporting local products that have to be made overseas.

As it stand now we have no more technical advantages due to the massive influx of sub standard engineers mixed with the good ones.

This malaise have also spread into the quality of living here for the increasingly downgrading middle class.

Anonymous said...

They sell you the "Talent ideology" and you bought it.

Who is the idiot?


Anonymous said...

So don't blame the government. :)

Anonymous said...

I read this article with a heavy heart. Having born and work more than a decade..i can't see the future i yearning for.

Instead, I'm forced to lower myself to compete with the young FTs and humiliation of useless old folk.

If there is a chance, i would like to leave this place, Once and for all.

Anonymous said...

Hello Anon 5:19,

And who are you anon 5:19 if you are not a S'porean too, who also had no choice but be subjected to PAP policies? It is not about everyone buying PAP talent ideology although I would grant some have indeed been deeply brainwashed especially if they are successful and use that oneupmanship ideology to put down others. Yout talk-down to others expresses precisely this kind of PAP taught cockiness, arrogance, "hou lian" but really nothing much up there I would suppose.

On the other hand if you are not S'porean or have migrated then you also what business have you got here?

Anonymous said...

My friend was "released" some 7 years ago when he was 40+. Till now he is still "jobless".
They are just paying lip service and is not sincere to help.
Where is the futre? There is no future.
Even during the "golden years" in the last few years, everyone had forgoteen abt them, and they still cannot get a job in good time. Where got hope during bad time???
For your children's sake, something must be done or there will be no future!!!

Alan Wong said...

I just feel that all this skills training for locals are just a smokescreen to help appease the un-employed. To cut it short, what they are trying to say is that without this any skills re-training, your chance of landing another job will be much slimmer.

But in reality, the bottomline is during job interviews the employer will ask what is the minimmum salary that you will be willing to accept. If your expectations are beyond their budget level or remuneration, then most likely the job will go the the foreign worker who will be willing to accept a much lower remuneration.

This is already what is happening - just take for example our shopping malls/restaurants/food courts, almost the majority of the assistant managers, chefs, shop assistants, cleaners are already taken over by Chinese workers. And a lot of our customer relations officers, technicians are being are taken over by filipinos, jobs which would otherwise go to the majority of working class Singaporeans.

All this political propanganda that foreign talents will increase more jobs for local Singaporeans is just a whole load of bullshit. May we ask where is the hard facts to prove such policies.

I still believe that our PAP Govt's foreign talent policy is made at the expense of the local peasants and the motive may be that it just a plain political decision for PAP's own survival.

Any other explanation given by our PAP Govt officially is just plain political crap!

Anonymous said...

I am in my forties. Since 2004, I have been doing temp jobs till to-date. I have also attend and applied numerous PCP (Profession Conversion Course) since 2004 but was not given one.


Because I was in my forties.

Overtime, I become so disheartened that I can only blame myself. Yes, blaming myself will cause me to do something for myself. Blaming others will not help me.

MIW blamed everyone but themselves. I have lost hope in this country. I would like to get out of this pathetic country but I can't. That make me more pathetic.

Anonymous said...

i hope some1 can think logically....ways back, there were shortage of workers especially in certain industries like machine operators, cleaners, etc...if you don't believe, just ask yourself, would you want your children to work in those jobs.....

Anonymous said...

I left singapaore for a job in China 6 years ago. It was not on expatriate terms and I compete against local talents and received local package. I was 35 years then. Friends and family told me I was crazy. My reasons for leaving was simple:
1) it is difficult to find a job once you are over 40 in sinapore or stayed employed. I met many friends who are above 40. Experienced as they are, it has been difficult to stay employed unless, you are running your own business, worked in the government sector,or achieved a certain level status or position in society by then.
2)you need to take a step back to move forward 2 steps. I invested in my education instead of buying a property and went off to look for a job in HK, which led me to China.
3) China, being a huge country allows me to extend my career path by another 10-15 years. More importantly, there are lots of upside.

Many of my friends my age did not share my views unfortunately and I believe many singaporeans are still not adventurous and willing to tough it out. Most of us think about change only when it is too late or when reality bites. If you are a PMET hitting 40, you better be a high achiever, if not your career plateaus very quickly. There are many things we can do, however, sacrifices need to be made and mindset needs to change. More importantly, we also need to be hungry enough to take the path less travelled.

Anonymous said...

Many of my friends my age did not share my views unfortunately and I believe many singaporeans are still not adventurous and willing to tough it out. Most of us think about change only when it is too late or when reality bites. If you are a PMET hitting 40, you better be a high achiever, if not your career plateaus very quickly. There are many things we can do, however, sacrifices need to be made and mindset needs to change. More importantly, we also need to be hungry enough to take the path less travelled.

As true as your tale maybe, one wonders why is the PAP govt expecting Sporeans to keep making sacrifices while it does not practice the same and instead keep enriching themselves in unprecedented scale. If there are no longer meaningful jobs for Sporean PMETs within Spore and we are expected to venture overseas and fend for themselves, then this country is already not much different from say Pakistan, Bangladesh, or the Philipines.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anon @ 8.38,

Years ago, I went to Shanghai to look for a job. I managed to secure one based on locale term. I was quite happy because there is more potential in China then in Singapore. Moreover, it gave me an opportunity to start my career again. I was in my early forties and have been unemployed for a few years.

The following day after securing the job in Shanghai, I was asked by the Singapore Office to return to Sin for an interview. I was puzzle as what does it have to do with the Singapore branch as the HQ was in HK.

I came back to Sin, went for the interview and was rejected. Reason, victim of power struggled between the HK and Sin Office.

On the other hand, it also show how $%$%@# singaporean can be to their fellow country man in a foreign country.

Anonymous said...

The frustration of the PMETs can be sensed from the posts found in they questioned whether the Singapore government has taken the step that other governments have taken to create jobs according to the article.

If the Singapore government has done what other have done to help their citizens, the question is how successful have they been compaerd to tohers and if not why not.

Anonymous said...

Sorry the link in my earlier about getting a sense of the frustration faced by PMETs should be:

Anonymous said...

Dear Anon 9:51am,

I am Anon 8:38am (call me John). I agree with you. Never depend on a singaporean company to support Singaporeans when you are abroad. Instead go straight to a chinese company,HK or foreign enterprises. Sad as it may sounds, Singaporeans are not very united when working abroad. Look at the horrble support services provided by the embassy and various chamber instituitions.

To Anon 9:46am.
the Singapore government will always ask Singaporeans to make sacrifices for the country, serve the army without question, accept policies without questions, have more children etc. I would not expect them to say anything otherwise. Frankly, it doesn't matter to me what they say. My priority is survival and to put food on the table for my family and myself. I do whatever it takes to create a better life for myself and my family. If Singapore does not provide it, I will find it elsewhere. The earlier you leave this country, the less sacrifices you need to make for this country.

I love my country but my future in Singapore looks gloomy. In an increasingly globalised world, spending your entire career in Singapore is not only unwise but sucidal to your career. There is a price to pay for working too long in Singapore. If foreigners can see it so clearly to use singapore as a springboard, why can't we think like them?

Anonymous said...

Can more Singaporeans like 8:38 AM who have succeeded abroad share their experience here. I feel this can be quite helpful for others seeking a way out.

I am advising my children to venture abroad but it might not be easy for them to find their way without good leads.

It would even be better if there is already a website specifically set up for such a purpose.

If you know of such a site, kindly post the link here.

Many thanks!

Anonymous said...

I am a true singaporean a multi tasked technical personnel above 40 years being retrenched recently and replaced by three foreinger workers doing my work and now I end up struggling doing odd jobs to support my family.I wonder whether there is any more future in singapore indeed as a singaporean and as a parent i am worried for our next generation.

NR said...

I think it is generally difficult to get a job when you are older. I like Singapore very much but the cost of living is high and the wages are relatively low. I dont live in Singapore at the moment because of this

NR said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
top transex milano said...

It can't have effect in fact, that is exactly what I suppose.