Remote working has become part of the “new normal” amidst the Covid-91 pandemic. While the threat of the coronavirus has somewhat subsided, and workers are slowly returning to the workplace, the Singaporean ministry of Manpower (MOM) will be actively monitoring shifts in practices at the workplace caused by remote working; according to Minister of State for Manpower Zaqy Mohamad.
He acknowledged that remote working may prompt companies to redistribute their activities to take advantage of manpower availability in lower-cost locations. But this is similar to how activities such as garment manufacturing and call-centre operations have shifted out of Singapore over the years, Business Times reports.
“In their place, we have grown new manufacturing clusters such as biomedical sciences and expanded the services sector. At the same time, activities that remain in Singapore moved higher up the value chain.”
Zaqy also outline several ways that the city-state can continue to retain its competitive edge as travel continues to be inhibited. Firstly, by strengthening the business environment to ensure Singapore remains the preferred location for trade and investment, particularly in emerging growth areas such as additive manufacturing and fintech. Secondly, by sustaining efforts to help Singaporeans build skills relevant to the global marketplace.
Additionally, the MOM will also be assisting Singapore’s jobseekers in finding employment. Manpower Minister Josephine Teo said that at least eight satellite career centres are available in towns such as Jurong West, Sengkang and Woodlands. Said career centres comes under the new SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package which was introduced in May to mitigate the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
While there has been some criticism about the job centres being unhelpful for unskilled and non-PMET (professional, managerial, executive and technician) workers, Teo assures that the majority of the job matches made via the package have been for non-PMET positions.
However, she also said that matching people to PMET jobs could take longer. Based on their experience, it has actually been easier to match people in non-PMET roles.
“Right now, the focus has to be on the companies making these opportunities available to job seekers, letting the job seekers know that they are interested to take in people as trainees or for mid-career attachments,” said Teo.