Why the Gig Economy is a Useful Stopgap for Older PMET Jobseekers

Looking for a new job as an older worker? Here’s what you can get out of freelance, on-demand jobs as a stopgap solution during your job search.

According to the Ministry of Manpower’s Labour Market Report for the first quarter of 2017, redundancies decreased by 36% from the previous quarter. Still, if you are a highly qualified professional in Singapore who climbed your way to the top, but now find yourself in between jobs, you are not alone.

Due to digitisation and the resulting disruptions in business models, a number of jobseekers have taken to short-term engagements, working as independent contractors for a stopgap solution until they find their next job. The rise of this gig economy means that there are some temporary work options to tide you over financially before you land your next full-time job. But since these gigs don’t offer the regular benefits, bonuses and CPF contributions that come with a full-time job, jobseekers should use this period to keep up their job search efforts in order to find a long-term solution.

Here we look at the challenges of being a job-seeking PMET in your 40s and 50s — and how freelance, on-demand gigs can be a viable stopgap measure.

Paying the bills

One of the biggest challenges faced by jobseekers who are in their 40s and 50s is the loss of a steady income to fund their financial obligations. For instance, you will have to review your mortgage, car loan, household expenses and children’s education expenses. If healthcare and transport allowances from your previous job have also disappeared, you may need to resort to temporary measures to tide you over until you land your next job.

So what does a viable stopgap solution look like?

Stopgap success

You have probably already heard about the rise of freelance, on-demand gigs offered by private hire car and delivery companies such as ride-hailing company Grab, online supermarket RedMart and takeaway food delivery service foodpanda. Many people, Singaporeans included, are turning to the gig economy as a temporary solution to unemployment.

Take Marcus Lim, who previously headed an IT department and abruptly lost his job midway through his career. In his 40s, he had difficulty securing another job that would offer a similar salary and position. After four months of unemployment, he joined ride-hailing company Grab as a driver and was able to support his family with his freelance position.

Freedom, flexibility and new skills

Part-time gigs offer a temporary option to occupy your time until the next job comes along. You will enjoy flexible working hours, which gives you the freedom to find and interview for a full-time job. You will also get to learn new skills that might prove valuable to the changing job market, including soft skills such as adaptability and communication skills. Most importantly, you gain a source of income, which still helps finance your household and personal expenses.

Keep your full-time job hunt alive

However, for all the freedom and flexibility that on-demand gigs offer, they do not provide retirement or healthcare benefits, annual bonuses and CPF contributions. Keep searching for a full-time job while you freelance, so that you can get back to receiving these benefits and saving up for your retirement.

To increase your chances of landing a fulfilling full-time position, sign up for WSG’s Career Matching services, which include career guidance, access to a job portal, and workshops and programmes that provide participants with job application tips and relevant skills. Whether you are planning to stay in the same industry or undergo a career transition, WSG offers a series of initiatives that equip you with skills and work experience.

By developing the right skills and gaining experience in new, up-and-coming industries, you will likely have more doors opening for you — even in an age of rapid digitisation and automation.

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