Transitioning: First of all, thanks for allowing us to interview you online Ivan and can you provide us with some background information on yourself?
Ivan: I am a 42 year old local graduate, who has 17 years of experience in accounting. I am happily married with a 6-year-old son. I have been jobless for 2 months after the position I am in was made redundant due to internal restructuring. I used to earn $75,000 annually.
Transitioning: What was your last occupation and you have told me that you were unemployed for a few months, can you tell us more about this and also your job search experience?
Ivan: My last job was with a local ferry operator as a Finance & Admin Manager. It is not easy looking for a job nowadays. Some employers are skeptical of your job performance. There was no reply after a while and I have to keep trying everyday, scouring through newspapers and job portals.
Transitioning: You have told me that you are currently jobless for more than six months, what did you do in order to survive? Did you also approach the CDC for assistance?
Ivan: I just scrimped and saved on daily expenses and cut down on big ticket items like purchase of electrical and furniture, etc. I tried to apply for jobs for which I think I am interested and suitably qualified. I did not approach the CDC for assistance because I think it is difficult to apply to the various assistance schemes.
Transitioning: Did you attend any interviews during the past few months and why do you think you are unsuccessful so far?
Ivan: Yes, I did attend a few interviews (with some through job agencies) but there was no further news after that. I think I am rather advanced in age and some jobs require specific job experience for which I may not have.
Transitioning: Tell us more about what you have learnt from your jobless experience and how it has impacted your family.
Ivan: My family, especially my wife is supportive of me but I cannot take it for granted. My young son is still young to know the full consequences. My savings can only last for a finite period of time and for now, I can only hope that I can find a job soon. This period has been a humbling experience for me and gives me time to reflect on my past mistakes and relationships with people.
Transitioning: What do you think you could have done to shorten the unemployment period?
Ivan: I could have taken on jobs which Singaporeans shun, like cleaners, bus drivers or security officers but all these jobs also require one to have the requisite experience. In all, it is not easy and a humbling experience during my unemployment.
Transitioning: Do you think that Singapore is now a more difficult place to make a living?
Ivan: Yes, cost of living is rising and there are very limited jobs available, even to locals. It is indeed difficult to make a living in Singapore, as the government has imposed many restrictions and increased the standards for many professions.
Transitioning: What do you think the government can do to alleviate the current employment situation?
Ivan: The government should create a job bank so that applicants can apply to these jobs directly. Further, it should provide career counseling to people who have lost their jobs.
Transitioning: Many people have blame foreigners for competing jobs with us, what is your view on this?
Ivan: Foreigners are willing to accept the same job for a lower salary. In a way, they are competing with us for jobs.
Transitioning: Lastly, whats your advice for those who are still jobless and feeling down?
Ivan: Don’t lose hope just yet. Keep applying to those jobs that you are confident and interested in and hopefully, will be able to secure one soon
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