According to the Department of Statistics, SMEs account for the employment of about 72% of workers in Singapore. This makes them a vital part of our economy as these SMEs’ performance and decisions can have a major impact across the country.
As such, it came as no surprise that a large focus for the Singapore Budget 2021 centered around how the government will continue to support SMEs in Singapore in 2021 as our country prepares to emerge stronger in a post-COVID-19 world.
Government Schemes Like The Job Growth Incentives & The SGUnited Jobs And Skills Package Will Continue
To encourage Singapore companies to retain and accelerate the hiring of local employees, the Singapore government introduced multiple job schemes in 2020. This includes the SGUnited Traineeships Programme and the SGUnited Mid-Career Pathways Programme.
As announced in Budget 2021, the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package, which includes the SGUnited Traineeship Programme, will be extended for another year until 31 March 2022, with the aim of providing up to 35,000 traineeship, attachments and training opportunities.
Additionally, for traineeships commencing on 1 April 2021 onwards, the stipend for ITE and diploma trainees will be increased and the duration for traineeship will also be shortened from 9 months to 6 months for traineeships commencing from 1 April 2021.
This is good news for both SMEs and fresh graduates. SMEs can continue to provide traineeship opportunities at their company at a subsidised cost while fresh graduates who cannot land full-time jobs can choose to take up a traineeship position first. This allows them to gain relevant experience in the right industry, which can hopefully help them land a full-time role in the company and industry they wish to join in the future.
For companies looking to expand their full-time headcount, they will be glad to know that the Job Growth Incentive (JGI) will be extended till end-September 2021. The Jobs Growth Incentive (JGI) is a salary support scheme that provides employers with 25% or 50% salary support, depending on the age. This salary support for the new local hires will last up to 12 months for workers below 40 and up to 18 months for workers over 40, persons with disabilities and ex-offenders.
Leveraging On The Pandemic To Capitalise On Growth
One interesting observation during the Singapore Budget 2021 speech is how often Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat cited businesses in his speech. These companies include Tim Ho Wan, a company that worked with e2i to modernise what was previously tedious manual ordering and tabulation reporting. Another company was SGInnovate, which recently launched PowerX Robotics to develop local talent for the fast-growing robotics and automation sector. In total, about 11 companies were mentioned by the DPM during his speech.
If you didn’t manage to catch the budget, you can also read our recap of the 10 things business owners need to know about the Singapore Budget 2021
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