Juliet Soh

JobsCentral Survey: 2 in 3 employers surveyed say they will be hiring in Q4 2012

By Juliet Soh

The employment market appears set to continue its strength in the final quarter of 2012, according to a survey conducted by JobsCentral, Singapore’s leading job portal. This is against the backdrop of low unemployment rate of 2% in the country.

67.2% of the respondents, made up of HR professionals and hiring managers from both the private and public sectors, indicated that they will be hiring till the end of the year to fill new positions (excluding replacements from staff turnover). Majority of those who are hiring are from the small-medium enterprises (SME, 62.4%), while the multinational corporations (MNCs) take up 27.4%, and the public sector forms 10.2% of this group.

“In spite of the uncertain and rather slow global economy, Singapore employers are still faced with a very tight local labour market. This means that employers find it hard to even replace staff who resign and even harder to recruit new staff for expansion. This problem is further compounded by our overall shift towards less reliance on foreigners,” commented Mr. Lim Der Shing, CEO of JobsCentral Group.

“The situation is especially bad for SMEs, who may not have the resources and ability to compete with MNCs or the government in terms of compensation, benefits and career development and who have traditionally relied on foreigners. Certain sectors like the retail, hospitality and healthcare section face a tough time getting the people and employment permits they need to run their businesses,” he adds.

Lack of suitable quality candidates is a huge HR challenge

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3 reasons why you should further your education

Question:
Many of my colleagues are either getting a second degree or studying for a post-graduate qualification. I don’t want to simply jump onto the bandwagon of further education. Could you tell me how getting more papers to my name can help with my career?

Answer:
There are several reasons why further education can help with your career:

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What you study may not be what you end up doing

By Juliet Soh

I read Political Science in university. Many of my classmates eventually joined the civil service and using the knowledge they’ve acquired in public administration and international relations, are now making and executing the policies that we are affected by.

On the other hand, I started my career in journalism, and also delved into public relations. What I’ve learnt in school from Machiavelli to Marx doesn’t seem to apply to what I do at work now, except to sound knowledgeable when I make small talk with clients.

But this is not entirely uncommon.

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JobsCentral Survey: More than 60% of Singapore workers complain of heavy workload and work stress

By Juliet Soh

66% of Singapore workers say that their workload has increased when compared with six months ago, according to a survey conducted by Singapore’s leading online job portal, JobsCentral. Of them, 83.3% said that their work stress has also increased in the last six months, while 1.1% said that stress level has decreased and 15.5% indicated that it has stayed the same.

A total of 2,281 respondents took the survey and respondents consisted of employed individuals from all levels of occupation and income groups. The survey has an error margin of 2.05%, at 95% confidence level.

60% of the respondents reported that they stay in the office for at least an hour after work hours at least three days a week. One in three (32%) say they bring their work home to complete, 22 per cent say they have worked from home while on sick leave and close to one-fifth (18%) say they have worked while on vacation.

“Singapore’s workplace environment is a tough and demanding one. Workers place career as one of the top priorities in their lives and often make personal sacrifices for job advancements. On the other hand, employers faced with increasing manpower cost, embark on the unending quest for higher productivity. It is not surprising that our workers are feeling more stressed and working longer hours,” says Michelle Lim, Chief Operating Officer of JobsCentral Group.

“Technology such as 3G and wifi on smartphones, tablets and laptops means that you can take work with you wherever you may be. And it also means that employers have the expectation that you are available even after office hours. However, both employees and employers should learn to respect after-work hours and reasonable allocation of work in order to avoid burning out in the long term,” she added.

Higher earners display more “workaholic” tendencies

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How to tell your boss he's wrong

Question:
Bosses are human too and they make mistakes. I know mine does – sometimes a bit too often. How do I tell him that he’s wrong?

Answer:
Yes, bosses make errors too but because they determine whether you’re going to get promoted, pointing out their mistakes is a touchy issue that you should carefully plan for before you do.

Of course, you probably already know you have to be polite and professional about it. We have these other tips to share:

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Slackers are more productive

By Juliet Soh

I brought my boyfriend to work recently. Oh, I don’t mean it literally. I mean, I’ve put up photos of us on my work desk, and insist that they help with my productivity.

Let me explain. You see, human beings are wired to get distracted. Creativity researchers say that we need to take periodic breaks to alleviate pressure and to help us see issues through fresh eyes. “People are more successful if we force them to move away from a problem or distract them temporarily”, says the authors of Creativity and the Mind, a literature that delves into the psychology of creativity.

And so, dear readers (and my boss), taking a minute’s break off work to look at photos of my boyfriend brings about happy emotions and help me work better. Scientists say it helps with my problem-solving skills – so, there you go!

If gazing at your loved one’s photo is not your idea of “taking a break”, I have other suggestions:

Get a cuppa
If you can, go to the nearest coffee joint to grab a beverage when you feel like you need to clear your head. Sugar from the drink helps boost your energy level and the 10-minute walk should give you a perk-me-up because exercise helps improves brain power.

Get moving
Did I say exercise can help improve brain power? So, get your body moving. You can schedule regular intervals for some stretches at your desk, and if your work space allows it, you could even do a few sit-ups or run on the spot. If it’s weird to work out in the office, then go for a walk around the office building. Trust me, a five-minute workout will give you the push to help you stare at the excel spreadsheet for another two hours.

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5 ways to combat lying job applicants at interviews

By Juliet Soh

Remember those whodunit stories? It’s always hard to tell who the real criminal is because they all look like good people and have strong alibis. In a similar way, when most job applicants come in their best suit, show lots of enthusiasm about the position and have good resumes to prove that they’re suitable for the job – all thanks to great career guidance in school or training seminars – it may be hard to tell if any of them are lying or exaggerating about their credentials.

That’s why recruiters may be “fooled” into hiring an unsuitable candidate by their performance during interview and their exaggerated resume. How can you sieve out the wheat from the chaff? Here are five tips:

#1: Tell them you’ll do checks
At the start of the interview, let the candidate know that the company practises reference checks. By pre-empting them, candidates will naturally be deterred from lying during the interview, because they know that they may get found out eventually.

#2: Get them to talk
Always ask open-ended questions and follow-up questions. For instance, if a candidate said he was top salesperson for six consecutive months, ask questions like “How far did you exceed your sales target?”, “How did you manage to achieve consistent results?”, and “Which clients were most challenging and how did you convince them?” to get him to talk more.

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Casual Friday = Judgement Day

By Juliet Soh

“Casual Friday” is a trap. Bosses use it to sieve the sensible people from others. Your employers talk about Casual Friday like it is a welfare, but really, they scrutinise you every week. Call me paranoid, but I believe people are judged, unfortunately, based on our wardrobe choices.

What I think bosses are secretly thinking of when we dress down on Fridays:

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Singapore workers keen to upgrade their skills despite low unemployment rate

By Juliet Soh

Against the backdrop of low unemployment rate of 2%, more than a thousand Singapore workers signed up for career seminars, showing a high level of interest in upgrading their career skills. The inaugural JobsCentral Career Summit 2012 hosted within the JobsCentral Career and Learning Fair, saw keen participation across its 23 seminars over topics on career growth, entrepreneurship, business skills and leadership.

Lim Der Shing, CEO of the JobsCentral Group says, “We are pleased to see strong support for the JobsCentral Career Summit from both students and experienced professionals. It goes to show that lifelong learning and career enhancing skills are valued by and are important to our workforce.”

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How to wiggle out of frequent expensive lunches with colleagues

By Juliet Soh

Question:

My colleagues always head to mid- to high-end restaurants for lunch. Each meal sets me back by at least $20 every time – that works out to more than $100 per week! I am saving up for my wedding and find it hard to keep up with my lunch expenses. What can I do to stop them from visiting expensive eateries?

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