Many PMEs today find themselves sandwiched between the need for survival in challenging times and the changes brought on by globalisation. Add Covid-19 to the equation – we can just imagine their frustrations… Singapore’s PMEs deserve help in these turbulent times. They are definitely facing challenges, and their calls for help are getting louder. But our PMEs’ calls for help are not being ignored! Over the last 12 months, the joint NTUC-SNEF PME taskforce consulted more than 10,000 members of the public, union leaders and business leaders to understand the key concerns and needs of Professionals, Managers and Executives (PMEs) at the workplace and sought out proposals that would be both pro-worker and pro-business. The spirit of tripartism has been evident with the NTUC and SNEF coming together to propose practical ways of helping our vulnerable PMEs.
This Taskforce was formed back in October 2020 to engage PMEs, employers and various stakeholders, identify areas of support and look at ways to strengthen PMEs’ employment and employability. They have completed the work and have submitted their final report to the Government for consideration.
Mature PMEs form a key group that the Taskforce is looking to support.
Earlier this year, Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam shared that employers in Singapore still harbour a bias against mature workers. He called on employers to “take the high road“, and make use of government schemes to hire and train such workers. A move that will benefit both workers and firms given the tight labour market.
They felt that having measures such as short-term salary support, support in employment, and training opportunities will help improve their employability.
NTUC secretary-general Ng Chee Meng, who is an adviser to the Task force, said that PMEs feel the pressure from foreign competition and for mature workers, they find it challenging to bounce back when they lose their jobs.
More must be done to level the playing field for our local PMEs, while enabling other forms of employment and employability-related support like unemployment transition support, job search or training support for them.
NTUC assistant secretary-general Patrick Tay who co-chairs the task force, also added there are things that the Taskforce feels very strongly about and are voicing it and advocating it, and it’s for Government to respond and to do a deeper dive and think about, because it affects policies. Hear it from the man who has been persistently fighting for Singaporean workers for a decade and counting!
In the next decade, Singapore will experience significant demographic shifts, with more PMEs in the workforce and a rapidly ageing workforce. Our PMEs will need to transform urgently to stay competitive, and the tripartite partners are here to help.