I’m a 39-year-old unemployed sales and marketing professional residing in Tampines GRC. After sending out tons of application emails and going for more than a dozen of interviews for the past year, I realised how much discrimination potential job seekers have faced from our Singaporean employers.
These employers, despite crying foul that local job seekers are fussy and choosy, are the ones that are doing all the bad deeds. If you look through most companies’ job application forms or website, you will find questions that already pre-screened a potential candidates on their health and whether they are ex-offenders. So through these questions if one answers truthfully, then you are very likely not able to receive any reply at all.
So it means if you are a cancer survivor, a handicapped person or an ex-offender (be it a minor offence – fined or murderer) it doesn’t matter. Most employers would see you as a burden or liability. This is because they think that even if you are cured of cancer, you may have a relapse and cause the company medical costs and downtime in the future and as an ex-offender, you won’t change for the better.
I see this as a major discrimination in our re employment situation here - who says just because a person is handicapped, he or she can’t be a data entry clerk or admin assistant?
I’ve a pacemaker implant due to some irregular heartbeat but other than having to go for yearly cheackup once a year, I’m perfectly healthy and as I explained to my potential employers, they can even exclude me from medical coverage for heart conditions yet this fell on deaf ears!
The Home Ministry kept campaigning about the Yellow Ribbon Project but how receptive are employers about employing reformed ex-prisoners in actual fact?
In the first place, the Civil Services don’t even endorse it. How many ex-offenders are employed in the Civil Services or even Stat Boards? Why didn’t the government take the lead and walk the talk?
I personally felt that the government should take the lead in passing legislations to prevent employers from asking those discriminating questions on potential job seekers and also ensure that employers provide equal employment opportunities for ex-offenders.
I’m turning 40 years old this year so it would be even tougher for me to seek employment despite having about 20 years of working experience. So while employers continue to whine about difficulties in getting local workers and thinks foreigners are cheaper alternatives for this I truly support the government’s effort in raising the foreign workers levy so that they feel the pinch now and start looking at us.
Last but not least, to all workers coming to 40 years of age, stay in your current employment no matter what is the problem at work as once you are out, you are not only out but down too and if you don’t have much medical coverage, medical costs would burdened you very heavily.
Re employment will also be a big issue for you…