Support Site for The Unemployed & Underemployed
Wednesday March 13th 2019

38-year-old jobless PMET unhappy with the uncontrolled influx of foreigners into the job market

Transitioning: First of all, thanks for allowing us to interview you online Philip and can you provide us with some background information on yourself?

Philip: I’m 38 this year and I have been working for the past 14-15 years. I am married 3 years back and we still do not have a kid yet. But we do have plan to have one soon.

I’m a diploma holder from NYP and I graduated in 2002, Diploma in Mechatronics Engineering. I recently took up a Professional Diploma with Lithan Hall in 2017. The course was the Digital Sales and Marketing.

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?

Philip: My last role was a Deputy Contact Centre Manager and I ended the role in Jan 2019. I actually started to keep a look out during Nov 2018 and the market was slow due to the holiday season.

There were plenty of opportunities for the positions which I am interested in, but the recruitment agencies were slow to response.

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?

Philip: I was actually out of job for more than 6 months previously in 2016. I was made redundant as the company downsized and it was a pretty bad experience for me. I, later found a job utlilizing the PCP program which funded for my role as a Client Service Manager in 2017. I have to cut down on my expenses as I have to pay bills and also some loans. Some banks were nice enough to defer my payment by 3 months.

Transitioning: Did you attend any interviews during the past few months and why do you think you are unsuccessful so far?

Philip: I have a couple of interviews since Dec 2018 and also Jan 2019. As there were many people looking for similiar roles, companies have more choices to choose from, therefore chances of being reemployed is lower. Especially for my skillset, which is tiered more towards customer service or contact centre management which has quite limited scope or if not the companies are not able to match the pay.

Transitioning: Tell us abit more about what you have learnt from your jobless experience and how it has impacted your family.

Philip: From my experience, it’s been a very demoralizing experiences for both myself and my wife. As much as my wife is helping to keep the family financially stable, unemployment still has a strong negative impact, both mentally and financially.

Transitioning: What do you think you could have done to shorten the unemployment period?

Philip: I might not be in a good position to advise this as I am trying to find a way to shorten my unemployment period as well. But taking up an online course at home, or maybe turning a hobby into a money-making method might help?

Transitioning: Do you think that Singapore is now a more difficult place to make a living?

Philip: Personally, yes. I do feel it that way. The expectations of the companies and realities are too big a gap.

Companies are not willing to pay for a local with the same amount of experience as a foreign talent. I do understand that fresh grads are targetting to have a starting salary of $3000 and above without relevant experience, whereas they can get a FT with more experience at the same package. Living expenses have gone up by a fair bit as compared to a few years back, but the salary is not growing in tantem.

Transitioning: What do you think the government can do to alleviate the current employment situation?

Philip: I understand the government is cutting down on foreign quota and also giving companies grants to re-employ PMETs. For this, I am not in a very good position to comment as things have been done for Singaporeans by the government, but it is the hiring companies that’s not helping local Singaporeans.

Transitioning: Many people have blame foreigners for competing jobs with us, what is your view on this?

Philip: I once worked in a employment agency before and the clients prefer to have foreign talents over Singaporeans. This is especially so in the IT industry. An Indian national Network Engineer can be paid more than a local Network Engineer in the same company for the same role/project. Furthermore, they are able to bring their families over if they are holding to SP/EP. Many high management positions from IT or Financial industries are taken up by expats as they are the ones who come into Singapore for investment. They are mostly the ones who brought their own country folks into Singapore as well.

I would not blame them since they are capable and might have more knowledge/experiences than us locals. But I do feel that this needs to be controlled. Singaporean PMETs need to be given a chance to learn and climb the corporate ladder.

Transitioning: Lastly, what’s your advice for those who are still jobless and feeling down?

Philip: For those who are jobless like myself, they could consider taking up courses or even a taxi driver/private hire license to tide over.

A family must be strong and support each other in difficult time.

End of interview

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