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Looking For Work Amid The Challenging COVID-19 Job Market? These Government Initiatives Can Help

There is plenty of help you can tap on if you are looking for a full-time job.

The economic impact of COVID-19 pandemic around the world is unprecedented, and Singapore is not spared. According to reports, many companies are exploring job cuts, while economists said the pandemic could lead to 150,000 to 200,000 job cuts. This spells anxiety for those who are already looking for employment right now.

However, all is not grim. Besides cash relief for those who are affected by the pandemic, there are also many schemes jobseekers can tap on to return to the workforce as soon as possible.

Read Also: Temporary Relief Fund & COVID-19 Support Grant: Who Qualifies For It – And How Much Help Can You Receive?

#1 SGUnited Jobs

Announced in the Resilience Budget in late March this year, the SGUnited Jobs initiative will create about 10,000 jobs over the next one year. The public sector will take the lead in this initiative, while the government will work with trade associations and chambers, including the Singapore Business Federation, to identify job opportunities in the private sector.

As a start, the SGUnited Jobs virtual career fair has been launched on MyCareersFuture website with more than 2,200 job vacancies offered in various industries and specialisations at the portal.

Read Also: 5 Groups Of People That Are Severely Impacted By The Sudden Extension Of Circuit Breaker

#2 Career Trial

Jobseekers who would like to gain experience through a short-term trial can turn to the Career Trial programme offered by Workforce Singapore (WSG) and Employment and Employability Institute (NTUC’s e2i).

The programme matches jobseekers with companies for a short-term trial, allowing jobseekers to try out the job and provide companies an extended time to assess potential candidates’ suitability. If all goes well, the arrangement can lead to formal employment with the host company.

Jobseekers can benefit from training allowance and retention incentive, although they will not receive CPF contribution as there is no formal employer-employee relationship between the host companies and jobseekers.

Career Trial
Training Allowance For Job Seekers – $7.50 – $15.00/hour
– Full-time trial is capped at 480 hours, up to 3 months
Retention Incentive For Jobseekers – 3 months retention and beyond: Retention incentive of $500
– 6 months retention and beyond: Additional one-off $1,000 incentive (extended to unemployed SC who have been actively looking for jobs for 6 months or more)


Individuals who are interested to apply for Career Trial can apply directly with the host companies.

To be eligible for this programme, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Singapore Citizens who have been actively seeking employment on a permanent basis prior to commencing Career Trial;
  • Unemployed before commencing and during Career Trial;
  • At least 16 years of age, have completed full-time studies and National Service, if applicable.

In addition, jobseekers must be a registered client of WSG or NTUC’s e2i. Jobseekers who are not registered can request for the Jobseekers Detail Form from the two agencies, and to register for a Career Trial Experience Review within one month from the commencement of the Career Trial.

#3 Professional Conversion Programme

Professional Conversion Programmes (PCPs) are designed for mid-career professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) to undergo career conversion, by means of skills conversion and allowing them to move into occupations or sectors with good prospects or opportunities for career progression.

Currently, there are about 100 PCPs provided for PMETs through three modes of training:

Place-and-train: PMET is hired by a participating employer before undergoing training to assume a new role.

Attach-and-train: PMET is provided with training and work attachments prior to job placement through industry partners.

Redeployment and Job Redesign Reskilling: PMET who is facing a risk of redundancy at vulnerable job roles will be retained by existing employers and reskilled to take on new roles within the same company.

PMETs will undergo different types of training based on the arrangement with the company, such as training conducted externally or in-house, as well as structured on-the-job-training.

Depending on the programme and job requirements, the PCP duration ranges from three months to 24 months.

Individuals who are interested can visit the WSG website to apply. Suitable applicants will be shortlisted by participating employers for an interview before they embark on the programme.

Read Also: Budget 2020 Stabilisation and Support Package: Schemes To Help Companies And Employees Tide Through COVID-19

#4 P-Max Programme

P-Max is a place-and-train programme to help PMETs, including older workers aged 50 years and above, who are seeking jobs by matching them into suitable roles in small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which form 99% of all enterprises in Singapore.

Jobseekers applying for job placements under this programme will be screened and matched into suitable positions in SMEs by Programme Managers, which will they attend a 2 to 3-day PMET workshop to allow them better acclimatise to and take on roles in SMEs.

In addition, supervisors from the SMEs will also be required to attend a 1-day workshop to help them better communicate with their newly hired PMETs and to adopt best HR practices. SMEs who have hired older workers will also attend an additional workshop on engaging effective communication with their newly hired older workers.

PMETs must meet the following criteria to be eligible for this programme:

P-Max P-Max For Older Workers
– Be a Singapore Citizen or Permanent Resident who is keen to pursue a full-time career in an SME – Be a Singapore Citizen, age 50 and above who is keen to pursue a full-time career in an SME
– Possess educational qualifications that are Diploma or higher, or employed/have prior work experience in a PMET position; and
– Have graduated or completed National Service for a minimum period of 12 months


Individuals who are interested to apply for this programme can contact the following programme managers for more information:

Program Manager Telephone Email Website
Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (ASME) 6513 0349 / 0350 [email protected]
Singapore Manufacturing Federation (SMF) 6826 3051 / 3076 [email protected]
Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF) 6827 6977 [email protected]
Workforce Advancement Federation (WAF) 9779 8008 [email protected] aims to provide interesting, bite-sized and relevant financial articles.

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