We continue our online survey for local PMETs who are currently jobless and looking for work. I must say that it’s an employer’s market out there right now as companies are flushed with manpower from all over SE Asia. They are indeed faster, fitter and cheaper. How can local PMETS compete with such massive competition? Read how one recently-jobless PMET cope with his unemployment situation.
Transitioning (T): First of all, thanks Jack for allowing us to interview you online and can you provide us with some background information on yourself?
Jack (J): I am 41 years of age. Obtained a diploma in business (polytechnic) and a bachelor degree (SIM – UOL program).
Working since graduation in 1996. My classmate who’s still with MOM lamented the economy(jobs) has never been too kind to our cohort.
1998 Asian financial crisis, 2000 dotcom crisis, 2011 Sep-11, 2003 SARS, 2008 Lehman crisis, 2010 Euro crisis, in his words, “you can be sure it’s not the end”.
People of my generation are lucky to just have a job. A volatile market economy does us no favours.
T: What was your last occupation and you have told me that you were unemployed for 3 months, can you tell us more about this and also your job search experience?
J: Most of the companies I worked for are Distribution Centers. Singapore’s hub status means it’s easy to bring stuff in and out.
MNCs value a strong regulatory framework and an efficient infrastructure.
I wasn’t unemployed for so long. But it’s very hard to get a job once you lose the old one.
The most recent case being I have been sending CVs since 1 Apr. Already 3 months.
Do get calls from job agents. But interviews are scarce. First interview with Jap MNC didn’t work out.
Second interview with agency didn’t get me the interview by their European MNC.
Third interview was with a semi-Government entity. 1 month ago they didn’t shortlist me.
Then they decided to see me. Two dept heads are hiring one person to assist them both. Cautioned about red-tape and irregular hours.
However, the indicative salary is a big knock-down and my fate is yet undecided. Pre-empted about burnt weekends and some weekday nights.
My sense is that a SGD 2 bil turnover entity could afford to be more humane. But who am I kidding. This is a country where any talk of welfare (health, family, mental well-being) is brushed off as being soft and unproductive and unsustainable and..you fill in the blanks.
T: You have told me that you are currently jobless for more than three months, what did you do in order to survive? Did you also approach the CDC for assistance?
J: The government always remind us to be responsible for ourselves regardless of circumstances.
They own 60% of the resources (land) but when it comes to welfare, it’s “many helping hands”.
Picture this. A huge table (welfare needs). All and sundry are asked to help lift it. Smart but callous attitude.
T: Did you attend any interviews during the past 3 months and why do you think you are unsuccessful so far?
J: The economy is not as good as it’s made out to be. SMEs always stay lean to live. MNCs always find ways to stay lean.
T: Tell us abit more about what you have learnt from your jobless experience and how it has impacted your family.
J: I have learnt that Singapore is hard to call home. In time to come, GST 14%, our jobs are going faster, ageing issue…
T: What do you think you could have done to shorten the unemployment period?
J: A de facto guide would be 6 months is the period it takes to land a new job.
T: Do you think that Singapore is now a more difficult place to make a living?
J: Not if you’re what PAP is going for. Talents to make the PM’s dream of a global city a reality.
So all the Indians and Chinese who possess the special knowledge will make it.
Going by the attitude of PRC scholars, they “feel the locals aren’t their equals in intellect”.
Last week, I had the honour of witnessing the new-found confidence of new Indian PRs.
A middle-class Indian PR with 3 young kids was at a mall. I was behind him in a queue.
Reading a brochure, I was rudely awakened by someone bellowing, “WHERE IS SCIENCE CTR?” (twice or thrice).
Looked up and his eyes bore down at me. I meekly gestured and responded,”over there, turn right, etc”
He hollered,”WHERE?”. I said,”It’s hot and with kids, better you take a cab. Need to walk about 600m”.
After getting his reward, he turned and didn’t bother to thank nor acknowledge the citizen. Hullo..?
Reason for such condescending attitude. They have seen how the PAP tramples on citizens and gets away with it.
T: What do you think the government can do to alleviate the current employment situation?
J: I am not paid millions to figure that out. Go ask the PAP.
They masterly engineered this fix or feat.
T: Many people have blame foreigners for competing jobs with us, what is your view on this?
J: In a way it happens. But what manner of citizens are we? We have no rights on political assembly, unions are officially neutered, and our graduates’ pay are depressed for 15 years.
We are paid whatever the employers deem equitable. Private companies benchmark the Civil service.
My salary as a polytechnic grad in 1995 was $1,600.
My salary as a SIM graduate in 1996 was $2,500.
Guess what? It still is today!
T: Lastly, what’s your advice for those who are still jobless and feeling down
J: It’s all in the papers. Go figure. “Bedok reservoir”,etc.
Sorry for being morbid. Try emigration…
End of interview and thank you.