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Close to 3,600 opportunities available in retail sector in Singapore: MOM

MORE than 650 companies in the retail sector have offered close to 3,600 opportunities since April this year, of which 70 per cent are jobs, said the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) on Monday.

Around 40 per cent are PMET roles, such as sales, marketing and business development managers, retail and wholesale trade managers, and commercial and marketing sales executives. The remaining 60 per cent of the job roles are non-PMET positions, such as shop and store salespersons.

The former reflects that retailers appreciate the need to build and sustain their branding and online presence in the longer term, while the front-of-house roles are necessary to meet immediate manpower needs as stores reopened post-circuit breaker, said Manpower Minister Josephine Teo on Monday, following a visit to SK Jewellery.

Major roles in the retail sector can command salaries ranging from S$1,400 at the lower end of the pay range for non-PMET roles, to S$6,500 at the higher end of the salary range for PMET roles.

Even as the retail sector had already started its digital transformation pre-Covid-19, the pandemic was still a tipping point and as footfall fell, many retailers started to prioritise building their online presence and quickly pivoted to e-commerce platforms.

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Indeed, 10.9 per cent of total retail sales value in August consisted of online sales; sub-sectors such as computers and telecommunications equipment saw almost 50 per cent of their total retail sales come from online sources.

As at end-August 2020, more than 550 existing workers across 37 retailers have been or are being trained and redeployed into new or higher-value job roles through Workforce Singapore's (WSG) Job Redesign Reskilling Programme.

Four in 10 employees will receive a committed wage increment from their employers after completing the training; employers have committed to reviewing the wages for the remaining 60 per cent after the Covid-19 situation has stabilised.

WSG's programme was rolled out in October 2019 and subsequently enhanced in February this year to address the changing market conditions due to Covid-19. In September, WSG reached out to about 13,600 jobseekers through walk-in interviews, career workshops and seminars, SGUnited Jobs and Skills information kiosks, as well as SGUnited Jobs and Skills series.

Between April and September this year, 770 individuals have been placed into jobs, enhanced roles, company-hosted traineeships and attachments as well as training opportunities in the retail sector. Subsequently, 700 of them either found jobs or were able to retain their position in new or enhanced roles within the retail sector.

Separately, there is a stronger push for senior employment with new grants for the retail sector, which is one of the top sectors employing senior workers (nearly one in three persons employed in retail is aged 55 and above).

Funding support of up to S$375,000 is available to each employer through the Senior Worker Early Adopter Grant (SW EAG) and Part-time Re-employment Grant (PTRG) - both grants were introduced as part of the S$1.3 billion Senior Worker Support Package and opened for applications on July 1.

In the first three months of applications, close to 650 and 440 companies applied for the SW EAG and PTRG respectively. Almost all were SMEs. These companies employ about 37,000 employees who will progressively benefit from the enhanced human resource practices.

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