The labour movement’s Women's Development Secretariat (WDS) on Saturday held its first job fair with specific positions that offer some form of flexible work arrangements (FWA) .
SINGAPORE: The labour movement’s Women's Development Secretariat (WDS) on Saturday held its first job fair with specific positions that offer some form of flexible work arrangements (FWA) .
The job fair is aimed at recruiting and retaining women in the workplace, and is part of the NTUC Women's Development Secretariat's (WDS) U Flex Movement, which is pushing for greater adoption of flexi-work by companies in Singapore.
One job-seeker who came to the job fair was 28-year-old Syahirah, who left her job at a bank last year as she found it difficult to balance both work and family.
"We were required to do overtime. And sometimes we have to come back on weekends. So it's quite hard for me to toggle my time between my son, my family,” said Syahirah, who is looking for a part-time job.
Fifty-three-year old Manchulah Koh, who also attended the fair, is hoping to get back into the work-force after nearly 10 years.
She stopped working in 2005 due to family commitments, and is now looking for flex-work arrangements.
"My children are grown-up, so I want to come back to work. But still, I cannot work full-time. Because I still have commitments.
“If I am in a full-time job, my children will be neglected because I need to look into theireducation.
“I went for an interview once, and I wrote "part-time", but they didn't call me. They only want full-timers. So “flexi” is the key word for me,” she said.
Both Mrs Koh and Syahirah joined over 1,000 job seekers looking for flexible work arrangements at the fair.
A total of 570 positions were offered across a variety of industries, including healthcare, education, retail and security.
Santhi, senior human resources executive at Premier Security Co-operative Ltd, said: "Our style is different because we tell them you can decide what working days you want to work.
“The reason behind this flexibility, for us, is so they can work longer with us, and who knows, they can become permanent staff."
About 20 per cent of the job vacancies offered at the job fair were targeted at professionals, managers and executives (PMEs).
For example, Absolute Kinetics Consultancy offers staggered hours and telecommuting
for positions such as accounts assistants and sales executives.
Alvin Yap from the firm’s human resources department, said: "As an SME, we may not have so much resources, so sometimes we face challenges in implementing flexi-work arrangements.
“But with support of the management, there are also tried and tested methods. It worked. And so far, up to 80 per cent of our staff are enjoying one or two flexi-work arrangements."
The labour movement is intensifying efforts to encourage more firms to follow suit.
Sylvia Choo, director of NTUC WDS, said: “You may have policies, but (you need to) practice it, embrace it. So we want to encourage them and if they do not have the
resources, we will equip them."
A 2012 survey conducted by the Manpower Ministry on Conditions of Employment found that only four out of 10 companies offered some form of flexible work arrangement.
The NTUC WDS said that while this number may seem insignificant, it is still an improvement compared to only 35 per cent of companies in 2010.
Going forward, the NTUC WDS plans to organise workshops for both employers and employees to share strategies and ideas on how to implement flexible time at work.
The inaugural Flexibility Works! Job Fair is being held as part of International Women's Day on Saturday.