Transitioning: First of all, thanks for allowing us to interview you online Fred and can you provide us with some background information about yourself?
Fred: I am a local graduate who went through the mainstream education system like most Singaporeans. I have been in several industries before, but seems likely glued to international business development roles for consumer goods industry now.
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?
Fred: Upon returning to Singapore, I took up a job as a Marketing Manager with a food catering company. I left after 6 weeks in the job due to company structure, or the lack of it. Being 38, and after a major career switch at 35, it was indeed very difficult to find a suitable job.
My job search experience this time gave me the following insights:
a) The companies valuing my experience and previous performances (particularly in sales) were financial planning / insurance companies (guess you are not surprised either)
b) There seems to be a trend that hiring managers nowadays only look for fit-for-fit candidates for their job openings. They do not want to simply look more into the traits of job applicants to see if there is a potential in these applicants lacking in a couple of aspects on the job requirements. To them, the right candidates are to come in to work and not able to learn.
c) As an add-on to point B, companies are no longer willing to hire and train candidates in my opinion. They want quick-fix solutions. That probably contradicts what the government has been saying about continuing education and upgrading of skills. The private sector out there does not buy the story.
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?
Fred: I was jobless for almost 4 months. During this time, I gave some private tuition to earn some pocket money. I did not approach CDC, but I did approach e2i for help in seeking employment.
Transitioning: Did you attend any interviews during the past few months and why do you think you are unsuccessful so far?
Fred: Yes, there were quite a few. As for being unsuccessful, I could only think there are more qualified candidates than me.
Transitioning: Tell us abit more about what you have learnt from your jobless experience and how it has impacted your family.
Fred: Nobody gives a hoot to you when you are jobless. You can only try selling yourself as much as possible. I guess I was lucky to have a supportive family who did not give up on me during those days.
Transitioning: What do you think you could have done to shorten the unemployment period?
Fred: I tried looking into short-term contract jobs to make ends meet, but it was not easy to get one as well.
Transitioning: Do you think that Singapore is now a more difficult place to make a living?
Fred: Yes and no. You want a dead-end job, no problem. Anyway, you are expected to work like a slave during work and the only place you can go is home to rest and get re-charged for the next. $2,000 range job can do that. However, if you want something more, I do not think so. Our local enterprises generally do not need people to think, only support staff. If you are going to depend on MNCs, I can only count that handful now.
Transitioning: What do you think the government can do to alleviate the current employment situation?
Fred: Much as they have intentions to help, I do not think they can make it happen, not at least in the immediate term. They are supposed to be policy makers, and results from policies normally set in after years.
Transitioning: Many people have blame foreigners for competing jobs with us, what is your view on this?
Fred: If you classify foreigners as invaders, and Singaporeans as defenders, then we are in for a hard time. These foreign invaders possess the survival instinct, the aggressive nature, all being important traits to launch a good invasion. On the contrary, the native defenders have been all along sheltered, even to the extent of being timid. Who shall prevail then?
Transitioning: Lastly, whats your advice for those who are still jobless and feeling down?
Fred: Do away with the paper qualification mentality. Learn to survive first as fortune always befalls on those who are tough. Whining should not even be considered as the last thing to do for anyone who is jobless. Good bosses will take those who are positive and resilient, whether or not they possess the necessary skills. I think character and mentality will be the most sought-after traits going forward, hence survivors will be highly valued.
End of interview.Number of View: 2495