Wednesday 16 July 2014

Jobs Bank kicks off with 16,000 positions

About half of the vacancies listed on the portal are for PMEs
By Joanna Seow, The Straits Times, 15 Jul 2014

THE national Jobs Bank has been officially launched with more than 16,000 open positions, a strong start comparable to some private employment websites.

About half of the jobs advertised thus far are for professionals, managers and executives (PMEs). These include marketing executives, restaurant managers and director-level positions at educational institutes.

"We are creating many job opportunities in our economy, but we need a better, more systematic way to match job seekers to vacancies," said Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin at the launch at the Lifelong Learning Institute in Paya Lebar yesterday.

While the listings volume falls short of those of market leaders like JobStreet, with more than 51,000, the portal's manager, the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA), was encouraged.

An agency spokesman said it is pleased with the warm response and expects more users to come on board

First announced last year, the free service matches employers exclusively with local job seekers.

Its Singaporean focus is its unique selling point, said experts.

"On private job portals, sometimes more than 50 per cent of the applications received can come from foreigners, so it's good that there is this exclusive gateway helping Singaporeans," said recruitment specialist David Leong.

Under the Fair Consideration Framework, which kicks in on Aug 1, employers with businesses of more than 25 people must post job vacancies on the website for at least 14 days before applying for an Employment Pass.

The Manpower Ministry said S Pass and work permit applications are excluded from the rule for now as there are other tools, such as levies and dependency ratio ceilings, that spur firms to search for suitable Singaporeans before applying for the passes.

Human resource expert Paul Heng said the current Jobs Bank listings "could do with more senior-level roles" to make them more realistic.

But the WDA stressed that the service is for all types of jobs and not just for PMEs.

Since the beta version of the site was launched in May, 4,300 employers and 12,900 people have signed up for accounts.

Bosses and workers said the website is easy to use. For example, it even provides resume templates.

Madam Justina Lee, 45, was hired as a project manager at credit bureau DP Information Network within a week after posting her resume on the portal last month. Said the firm's senior general manager, Ms Ong Siew Kim: "It's been a challenge to get local hires, so we were surprised at the pool of good-quality candidates."

1 in 2 Singaporeans apply for PME jobs in Jobs Bank
By Loi Kar Yee, Channel NewsAsia, 15 Jul 2014

One in two Singaporeans who used Jobs Bank, an online job portal for Singaporeans and Permanent Residents, applied for professional, manager and executive (PME) jobs.

The initial launch of the portal took place in May, and 90 per cent of the applicants were Singaporeans.

Many food and beverage (F&B) establishments have been using the portal, but some of them said they are still facing difficulties in hiring workers.

RecruitPlus employment agency said that to draw more locals to take up jobs in the F&B sector, there must be more community job fairs within the neighbourhood to reach out to residents.

Han's Cafe has been using the job portal since the start of this month to hire more local workers, but it has only received two applications after two weeks.

Judy Lee, human resources and administrative manager at Han’s (F&B), said: "All the applications are mainly for admin executive positions.

“We don't see a lot of rank and file applicants, partly because maybe they are not familiar with using computers or they are not aware that WDA has such a website that they can go in and apply for this kind of positions for rank and file, mainly for operations staff."

Going forward, the Singapore Workforce Development Agency said it will be creating more awareness of the portal at job fairs.

Easier for firms to recruit right talent with Jobs Bank: experts
By Yvonne Chan, Channel NewsAsia, 18 Jul 2014

Human resources experts say the Jobs Bank will provide more opportunities for Singaporeans as well as make it easier for companies to recruit the right talent.

The Jobs Bank, officially launched on July 14, offers a list of available jobs for Singaporeans. Besides bringing down advertising costs, some experts say the free service could also help streamline the recruitment efforts of companies and promote a better job fit.

The online portal, which comes into operation on August 1, helps Singaporeans find jobs. Among other things, companies seeking to employ foreigners with an Employment Pass (EP) must first post vacancies on the Jobs Bank portal for at least 14 calendar days before submitting an EP application to the Manpower Ministry.

The 14-day criteria has made some companies feel the administrative process will become more tedious.

Erman Tan, president of Singapore Human Resources Institute, said: “Probably due to a lack of understanding, some employers may feel that it may take more time to recruit talent and they are concerned those talent might not wait for them and just move on. That's due to a lack of understanding.

“From the employer’s perspective, it helps them think strategically. It helps them to think what sort of talent I need in the long run so that they can plan ahead. It can help connect right talent with right opportunities."

Some HR experts say the Jobs Bank is not only a useful tool for Singaporeans but also for foreign talent, as the jobs specifications are clearly highlighted in the portal, and this also enables companies to have more focused recruitment efforts.

Besides attracting the right talent, some say the Jobs Bank will also help develop a strong Singaporean core.

Annie Koh, Associate Professor and vice president of Business Development and External Relations at Singapore Management University, said: "For me, it's really effective if you have this strong intent on trying to groom Singaporean talent and to try and grow the business with Singapore talent.

“If you're serious about growing the Singapore core, you need to give Singaporeans the leadership opportunities, the global exposure opportunities and give them the investment on developing them on the right career path. That will take a longer time."

For the Jobs Bank to be a success, industry watchers say there must also be qualified applicants for the right jobs.

Jobs Bank gets 50k listings in less than a month
Around 13% of the jobs available offer monthly salary of above $8,000
By Joanna Seow, The Straits Times, 8 Aug 2014

A NEW rule that makes it compulsory for many employers to post vacancies in the free national jobs portal Jobs Bank has made it one of the biggest players in the job site space in less than a month.

It now has more than 50,000 jobs for Singaporeans up for grabs. More than two in three of these are for professionals, managers and executives (PMEs), said the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA).

A check on the website,, yesterday evening showed that there are more than 54,000 vacancies.

Online recruitment site JobStreet, which claims to be No. 1 here, had over 53,000 at the same time.

Under the Fair Consideration Framework, which took effect one week ago, employers must post job vacancies on the website for at least 14 days, and consider Singaporeans fairly, before applying for employment passes for foreign workers to fill the vacancies. This applies to positions with a monthly salary of below $12,000.

The new framework comes after Singaporeans voiced unhappiness about foreigners taking away good-paying PME jobs from locals.

One of the criticisms of Jobs Bank has been that there are not enough senior positions advertised.

Mr Paul Heng, managing director of the NeXT Career Consulting Group, wrote in to The Straits Times Forum page soon after the portal's launch on July 14, saying that out of 400 or so jobs in the logistics and supply chain category, only a handful were at the executive level. Fellow Forum contributor Kong Pih Shu also wanted the number of matches between employers and local job seekers to be a key performance indicator for the portal. There are no figures for the number of matches yet.

Mrs Choo Lee See, senior director of the WDA's workforce services group, said the agency acknowledges the feedback and will explore ways to feature information such as in-demand jobs and success stories. She said that last month, nearly nine in 10 job vacancies on the site offered a monthly salary of more than $3,000. Around 13 per cent were for a pay of more than $8,000. One post for a regional head of wealth management operations at a global bank offers an annual salary of between $300,000 and $400,000.

Private jobs portal STJobs, which is under Singapore Press Holdings, has more than half its 41,500 vacancies for executive level and higher, and seven per cent for salaries above $8,000. Its senior product manager Ang Yinghui said that the highest-paying salary is $50,000 per month for a job in the hospitality industry.

Responding to the new figures, Mr Heng said that 13 per cent for higher-level jobs was still too low, and that a 25 per cent figure would indicate that employers were taking the purpose seriously.

Managing director of recruitment firm AYP Associates Annie Yap, however, felt that 13 per cent was "about right", given that the average salary for PMEs is around $4,000 to $8,000.

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