Produced by Astro AWANI
REFSA Executive Director Tan E Hun is encouraged by JaminKerja efforts to address the tremendous job losses exacerbated by the pandemic, including specific focus on marginalised communities and upskilling initiatives. Yet she stressed that there is a lack of clarity on key questions such as the types of jobs being created, whether these jobs pay enough to live on, and whether they are resilient to the future demands required in the economy.
She highlighted the need to craft a comprehensive national job growth plan that aligns and complements our industrial policies and overall economic direction. To promote better quality jobs, the nation should create an ecosystem that encourages career mobility but more importantly, basic economic stability. In other words, emphasis to enhance our education and training systems to help our workforce to adapt to changing skill needs is important, but at the same time, improve job quality that addresses fundamental issues such as decent pay, acceptable working hours and a safe working environment is also necessary. Citing the recent announcement of higher wages and clear career pathways for waste management workers in Singapore shows that decently paid jobs is possible if thought is put into structuring a workable model.
She also stress that structural causes such as over reliance on foreign workers, low wage growth, skills mismatch are often interlinked and must be addressed.
Dr Ong Kian Ming shared that the JaminKerja initiatives are a minor step-up from the PenjanaKerjaya initiatives (including initial components with additional for OKU and other marginalised communities). To seek a sustainable solution, a diagnostic should be carried out to understand the underlying challenges of current unemployment rates (such as structural inefficiencies and policy constraints), as well as how JaminKerja differs from PenjanaKerjaya in using new approaches for job creation, especially under the current context of reopening the country’s economy. Expanding his thoughts on policy constraints, he opined that this is due to a lack of coordinated leadership from policymakers and government representatives, which also causes unintended negative consequences.