According to the Straits Times, the number of PMEs joining a peer-support programme has been rising steadily over the year, with about 100 PMEs now who are of an average age of 48 years. Key industries such as the retail, marine, oil and gas, and foreign financial sectors are badly hit by the latest recession and the trend of an increasing number of retrenchments will continue this year to even the next year.
Losing a job that one has been working for umpteen years can be devastating especially when one has several commitments in life such as being the sole bread winner in the family, a family member falls sick and require funds, or when one is heavily in debt after not receiving income.
It is usually the middle-age group who has more family commitment and responsibilities in life due to housing and car loans, caring for elderly and children, education for children, insurance premiums, medical expenses, etc. And losing a job can affect the psychological well-being of a person, with heightened stress which can lead to depression or health problems, and later leading to more life-threatening circumstances.
Finding a job can be equally stressful especially having received no replies from the companies for several months. And given the competitive market from foreign labour and fresh grads, mature and experienced PMEs may not be able to fetch the same salary level as before, and this may mean a change in their lifestyle. Some may not confide in their family members for fear that they might worry, and the pent-up frustrations can be difficult for them to handle.
It is a commendable initiative that the labour movement is providing a holistic programme to provide workshops and coaching on career planning and management with follow-up sessions to ensure that the PMEs are able to integrate well in the new working environment. It also presents an opportunity for PMEs to make connections and network to aid in their job search. Some of the participants have also turned into volunteers to provide peer support to other affected PMEs as well.
Kudos to social enterprise GioCareersand the NTUC's PME Unit, which are adding more forms of support to enhance the programme, ensuring that the PMEs can settle well, be it in a new job, as a freelancer, or as an entrepreneur.
R. Arlette, the writer, is a consultant and trainer for corporate organisations and educational institutions who specialises in the following: 21st Century Skills, Personal Mastery & Peak Performance, Communication Skills, Innovative Thinking, Entrepreneurship, Design Thinking, Personal Branding, Problem Solving & Decision Making, Service Excellence, Effective Networking, Public Speaking & Presentations, Team-Building & Cohesion, TetraMap®, Profiling, Career Guidance, Interview Skills, Sales Techniques, Negotiation Skills, and Brain-Based Learning.
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