As I was watching the news yesterday, I saw the section on "Today in Parliament". In it, the Singapore government was touting the conversion scheme for Professionals, Managers, Executives and Technicians Aged over 40 (better known as PMETs).
I know remember the number touted but there is a lot of conversion scheme for PMETs to go for retraining. The Minister look very pleased when he announced that a number of these schemes are good for PMETs so that they can be retrained in the several line of work.
I’m sure the government did a good job on the conversion scheme. They carried out their plan well but I wondered if they carried out the right plan. The big problem I have is the idea that Singapore can beat recession and job losses through retraining. I mean these people go for courses and when the courses are over, what happen then? Will jobs suddenly appear just because PMETs are better trained?
The simple fact of the matter is this; no matter how well trained PMETs are, they will not be able to get jobs as 1) the economy is still in the toilet and 2) they will be undercut by foreigner workers who are willing to work for less money than them. If you are PMETs who has a 20-30 housing loan, you cannot take any job on the table as your pay must be at a certain level or you cannot pay your housing loan. Foreigners working in Singapore do not have this problem as they pay rentals. Retraining will keep the PMETs busy, but outside that…
The Singapore government may have done a good job on the conversion scheme but it is a case of good tactics, bad strategy.