Monday, April 20, 2009

Concerns of fresh graduates dominate dialogue with Manpower Minister

Concerns of fresh graduates dominate dialogue with Manpower Minister

By Hoe Yeen Nie, Channel NewsAsia Posted: 19 April 2009 2030 hrs

SINGAPORE : The issue of how fresh graduates can cope in the current recession dominated a dialogue session between Manpower Minister Gan Kim Yong and the Labour Movement's youth wing, Young NTUC, on Sunday. As the latest batch of graduates receive their degrees later this year, many will no doubt be thinking - "What's next?".

At a dialogue with the Manpower Minister, the concerns of young Singaporeans were evident. One participant asked: "As a fresh grad, do I really have to accept a blue-collar job? And if so, will it affect my application for PMET position after the crisis?"

Mr Gan said: "In recruitment, we will always ask, why haven't you been working for the last one year? If the answer is well, there are no jobs available, employers will not believe (this), because there are always jobs available. "The question is, are you willing to do that job? So the employer will think, if in a crisis situation, you are willing to sit at home and do nothing for one year, not doing anything, that means you are not very flexible." Some agreed that job-seekers' attitudes needed changing. Stephan Tan, Healthcare Services Employees' Union, said: "We have been dependent on the government too much, waiting for help." With graduate employment rates set to fall this year, it is no surprise that one question raised at the dialogue was whether degree holders from private universities would have the same job prospects as those from the three public universities in Singapore. In response, Mr Gan said the government is in no position to dictate the hiring preference of companies, and it was up to each institution to market their own graduates. Separately, some union activists highlighted the dilemmas faced by middle-aged retrenched workers, who find themselves matched to jobs they do not want to do, after going for re-skilling. Isaac Lee, Amalgamated Union of Statutory Board Employees (AUSBE), said: "Some of them may be choosy, but some of them, they do need that job, they do need that income, so they are choosy about the income they are getting." Other issues in the two-hour session included tougher action against companies which hire phantom workers and raising pay scales within the early childhood sector. - CNA/ms "

For me, it's all about striking a balance between stuffing cash into my wallet and having the job satisfaction. You know what you're looking for, yet flexible enough to accept the current situation. Indeed, at times we are too dependent on the government to come up with solutions.

The solutions sometimes comes within ourselves. I could have a higher income if i didn't change my job, but I'd love to explore more despite the lower income.If i earn lesser, spent lesser. Also in the process, i've learnt how to manage my cash better than before.

So my wallet is thinner, yet i'm pretty much still smiling...