Thursday, 5 September 2013

NTUC pushes for national database on job vacancies

By Toh Yong Chuan, The Straits Times, 4 Sep 2013

A NATIONAL job bank to help workers find jobs and firms meet their manpower needs might soon be set up.

The National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) is pushing for the creation of a national database of vacancies so it can better track employment market conditions.

"There is no such thing as a job bank in Singapore... information availability is limited," said labour chief Lim Swee Say yesterday.

Currently, Mr Lim said, career centres like NTUC's Employment and Employability Institute (e2i) and the Singapore Workforce Development Agency's CaliberLink do not have such an inventory of jobs available nationwide that they can tap to match vacancies with job seekers.

The NTUC wants to see "some form of a job bank" set up to plug the information gap, which will also help in labour market testing, said Mr Lim.

Some MPs have suggested labour market testing for firms looking to hire new workers such that these firms must prove that they have tried to hire locals before they are allowed to employ foreigners. Such testing can, for example, be carried out by looking at whether firms have placed job advertisements that target locals in a national job bank.

Mr Lim revealed that the NTUC has already discussed the job bank idea with the Government and the Singapore National Employers Federation, but declined to provide details. He also expects an announcement on labour market testing from the Manpower Ministry "in the next few months".

While welcoming the idea of a national job bank, Mr Chan Chong Beng, president of the Association of Small and Medium Enterprises, said that employers determined to hire foreigners can still circumvent it.

"They can advertise and say that they have tried to hire locals and still go on to hire foreigners," he said.

The labour chief made the comments to reporters yesterday after a dialogue with some 100 unionists, brainstorming how unions can serve different groups of workers. At the dialogue, Mr Lim announced that NTUC will set up two new centres to help workers find jobs and upgrade their skills.


One centre will help low-wage workers, while the other will target professionals, managers and executives. They will be located at NTUC's new Devan Nair Institute for Employment and Employability at Jurong East. Both centres will be set up in the next few months, said Mr Lim. The new centres will also help workers address any problems that they might face with employers.

The labour chief said the centres will welcome all workers even if they are not union members. "Whether they are members or not, they will receive the same treatment, support and level of service."

Turning to another issue, Mr Max Lim, president of the Singapore Bank Employees' Union, called for the CPF contribution rates for low-wage workers to be raised next year to help them build up their retirement savings.

The NTUC chief agreed with the idea, but said this should be implemented only "when the business climate permits".

No comments:

Post a Comment