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NTUC to form task force to look into work-life needs of youth entering workforce

SINGAPORE — The National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) will be forming a task force that focuses on young people who are entering the workforce in order to gain a deeper insight into their work-life needs.

The labour movement intends to engage some 10,000 young people in a bid to strengthen its link with young workers.
The labour movement intends to engage some 10,000 young people in a bid to strengthen its link with young workers.
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  • NTUC will form a task force that focuses on young individuals who are entering the workforce
  • The task force will engage them and gain a deeper insight into their work-life needs
  • This was part of the May Day message by the labour movement
  • A 2021 research study found that young people found it most challenging to manage their career opportunities, finances and mental well-being 

SINGAPORE — The National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) will be forming a task force that focuses on young people who are entering the workforce in order to gain a deeper insight into their work-life needs.

Ms Mary Liew, president of NTUC, and Mr Ng Chee Meng, its secretary-general, said that the task force will engage with these new entrants. The task force is expected to be launched in the third quarter this year, NTUC told TODAY.

In a May Day message, they explained that beyond representing workers at the workplace, NTUC must also “look at the needs of the workforce of our future — our youth”.

The union has resolved to “refresh and strengthen” its link with this group of workers.  

In a press conference with the media on Wednesday, Mr Ng said that the task force aims to engage 10,000 young people. 

It will build on a 2021 NTUC research study carried out in partnership with the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD), which surveyed 1,039 young people on their concerns at the workplace, he added. 

In their message, Ms Liew and Mr Ng also acknowledged the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on several groups of workers, including self-employed and lower-wage workers. 

For self-employed workers, they said that the "unique needs and interests of this group of workers warrant special attention".

"We will continue to push for better working terms and conditions, and boost medical coverage for them among other areas."

Though the employment rate of women in the workforce has been rising over the years, they noted that many women had to stop working due to various circumstances. 

In response to this, Ms Liew and Mr Ng said that the union will continue to engage more companies to redesign job roles and adopt practices such as flexible work arrangements. 

For lower-wage workers, they stressed the importance of having their wage growth keep pace with the median wage growth, in order for these workers to keep up with the costs of living here. 

“We will continue to push for the progressive wage model to be expanded to more sectors and occupations,” they said. 

Ms Liew and Mr Ng also said that they will “spare no effort” in ensuring that older workers are able to re-skill and take on new jobs in the digital economy, as well as have adequate means to retire. 

“They have been by the nation’s side and did their part to help it progress. We will not leave them behind as the world changes and industries transform.”

WHAT ARE THE WORKPLACE CONCERNS OF YOUTH?

In 2021, NTUC and SUTD carried out a research study surveying 1,039 young adults aged between 18 and 35 on their concerns at the workplace. In response to TODAY's queries, NTUC said that the data was collected through surveys, focus group discussions and interviews. 

Research showed that the top three challenges they faced were in managing career opportunities, finances and mental well-being, with more than one in every two respondents indicating that the most trying areas were in their career opportunities and prospects. 

The study also found that most of the young respondents do not know about the challenges they may run into at the workplace, before starting their first job. 

Many prefer to resolve work-related problems on their own or seek help from their friends and colleagues, rather than approaching figures of authority and the organisations. 

Mr Ng told reporters: "When I look at (these findings) together with my teams, we think that there is a space that NTUC can come in to enable our youth better than what is available currently."

The task force will "dive deeply into the issues of our young entrants into the workforce", he added.

Related topics

NTUC Ng Chee Meng Mary Liew workforce Youth young adults May Day

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