Photo of jobseekers from Mediacorp

Singapore’s unemployment situation has turned for the worse with a recent career fair offering only 300 jobs seeing more than 1,100 turning up. The career fair set up by 100 start-up companies does not even feature “good jobs” from multi-national companies or the public sector civil service.

Working in a start-up company or a Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) has a notorious reputation for underpayment and long working hours. Most SMEs in Singapore do not pay better than jobs from MNCs or the civil service, and also have the worst human resource practices among Singapore employers.

State media ChannelNewsAsia interviewed a 40-year-old Singaporean who expressed his pessimism for the job market at the career fair. Melvin Teh said that he has to accept a lower pay because of the job market:

Melvin Teh: “I’ve been in an oil and gas MNC for more than 10 years. Before that, I was doing accounting, so I want to try something different. I think the job market is now very bad. So we have to be prepared to maybe cut down our salary expectations by a few hundred dollars… If I continue to wait for half a year, I may not be able to get a job as well. Must be flexible.”

According to the latest government figures last month, there are 1.33 jobseeker for every job vacancy in the market. The Minister for Manpower Lim Swee Say however blame “job mismatches” and refuse to admit that employment figures are worsening. Minister Lim Swee Say called on Singaporeans to learn new skills and job hop to remain employed.