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Workers cross road in downtown Singapore from Shutterstock.com

Senior HR Consultant says higher ranking individuals are applying for junior positions due to horrible job market

A senior HR Consultant shed some light on the current job market situation in Singapore through his Facebook post on Sunday (24 March). Martin Gabriel said that the employment market in the country is really bad as higher ranking job seekers are desperate enough to apply for a junior position with much lesser salary.

This is contrary to a recent data released by the Manpower Ministry (MOM) which said that the overall employment growth in 2018 was the highest since 2014, with retrenchments down to the lowest level since 2011.

Mr Gabriel who manages HRmatters21 – an online HR interest group which provides a vibrant forum with HR issues being discussed – said that one of his clients recently advertised for a junior secretary position for a salary around S$3,000.

Surprisingly, people who applied for this position were not solely younger individuals with lesser years of work experience.

“What was astonishing was that, even senior Managers and Directors were applying for that position. Most of them, out of work for more than 6 months,” he wrote.

He added that over 100 applications were received for that one position, with at least 25% of the applicants were above the age of 40. If that is not bad enough, Mr Gabriel also said that they all held senior positions previously and was making way more than S$3,000.

Upon reading his post, more than 100 comments were received with most of them agreeing to his statement. They said that the situation will only get worse after this, before it actually gets better.

A bunch of netizens also shared their personal experience where they had to reduce their level tremendously in order to secure a job. Some revealed that they even applied for an internship, a security job and even as a Grab driver. Although a lot of them have years of experience, but they still couldn’t get hired based on their capabilities.

Alex Toh said that some foreign talents and foreign talent bosses play tricks to not hire locals. He said that he once applied for an assistance engineering position at ASE Singapore, but was asked irrelevant questions so that he would leave the interview and not get the job. He then went to the Union to complain about this but was told that his feedback was not concrete enough for them to do anything about it.

In the comment section, Mr Gabriel pointed out again that on he has friends on Facebook “who are desperately looking for a job and had gone into depression”. He noted that no mainstream media would want to interview him and cover such stories.

When TOC reached out to him and asked why unions are pushing harder for compensation upon retrenchment, he said, “The reason why unions fight harder for one month salary for each year of service when in the past they accepted 2 weeks is because those retrenched takes a longer time to re-enter the job market. I’m not saying this is a bad thing, but it’s a tell tale sign.”

In an attempt to explain how bad times are now, Mr Gabriel explained, “As for TADM (Tripartite Alliance for Dispute Management), although the maximum claim under the law is only S$20,000, I’ve seen PMETs filing claims for S$60,000. They still take the case in spite of knowing that maximum claim is S$20,000 under the Employment Claims Act. If employers don’t know and just pay, they will keep quiet. Again I’m not saying this is bad, but points to the fact that times are harder. Especially this year.”

Following his first post, Mr Gabriel did a follow-up statement saying that his initial post garnered over 701 shares and 306 reactions. This emphasises the fact that “Singaporeans could relate” to what he said and “most are despondent about the job market”.