NTUC is set to launch key initiatives aimed at helping youths as they make the crucial transition from school to the workforce. These initiatives have been developed based on insights gathered by the NTUC Youth Taskforce (YTF) through year-long engagements with youths and stakeholders.
The YTF, led by Young NTUC, the youth wing of NTUC, has engaged over 10,000 youths between the ages of 17 and 25, and has released the “The New Gen Worker” Report 2023.
The report highlights the challenges and concerns young individuals face regarding career progression, financial adequacy, and mental well-being.
During a media briefing on 12 July 2023, NTUC Secretary-General Ng Chee Meng and NTUC Assistant Secretary-General Desmond Choo shared key findings from the YTF’s engagements and detailed the recommendations put forth by the taskforce.
“The NTUC Youth Taskforce findings have given us very useful outlook to partner youths coming into the workplace.
“We are humbled by the many learnings from more than 10,500 youths who have shared with us their aspirations, concerns and challenges,” said Mr Ng.
Since its launch in July 2022, the YTF has engaged 10,568 youths from various Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs) through surveys, roadshows, dialogues, and focus group discussions. The key findings are:
What are the key concerns and worries of youths today?
When asked about their definition of personal success, many youths shared that it involved being content with their lives, having fulfilling relationships, and attaining financial wealth.
Their top concerns included not being able to enjoy life or live comfortably, losing friendships and relationships, and struggling to achieve their life goals and aspirations.
Financial worries mainly revolved around daily expenses such as food and transportation, as well as family obligations like household bills.
Youths also expressed concerns about achieving work-life balance, adapting to the workplace, and making career decisions that align with their own aspirations.
What are the traits of the new generation worker?
Based on the findings, the YTF identified key traits of the new generation worker.
These include recognising the importance of finances, advocating for mental well-being, and daring to pursue desired careers.
What are some work-related concerns faced by youths?
The top factors that youths consider before joining a company are salary, working environment, and work arrangements.
Mentorship emerged as one of the most crucial resources needed for career progression, with industry mentors and job preparation sessions being highly valued.
Mental well-being support in the workplace was also deemed important, although few youths have witnessed improvements in how mental health issues are addressed.
Additionally, financial adequacy and literacy were identified as significant concerns, with the youth expressing the desire for more knowledge on investment products, saving plans, and insurance.
To address the diverse needs and concerns of the new generation of workers, the YTF has proposed the following key recommendations tailored for youth:
1. Provide greater accessibility to career mentorship
Recognising the importance of career mentorship for youths, NTUC plans to scale up the number of career mentors to 1,200 by 2025.
This includes diversifying the sectors they come from and providing necessary training.
NTUC will establish mentorSHIP, a mentoring hub for youths, which will focus on industry mentorships and other related career support services.
2. Advocate for quality internship experiences
Acknowledging the desire for meaningful internships, NTUC calls on schools and employers to factor in students’ feedback on their internship experiences, and to enhance the quality of students’ learning and development in subsequent runs offered by companies.
This includes creating a productive and meaningful opportunity for students to learn about the company and industry.
3. Pilot a Career Starter Lab
To provide youths with more opportunities to seek clarity on their career navigation, NTUC has launched the NTUC Career Starter Lab pilot programme in May this year.
This initiative offers fresh graduates short-term work trials with workplace mentorship.
The goal is to provide valuable experiences that allow them to gain exposure to work culture, learn new skills, receive guidance from experienced professionals, and build confidence.
4. Train more mental well-being peer supporters in the workplace
To address mental well-being concerns, NTUC aims to expand its network of certified peer supporters in workplaces.
These individuals will foster a psychologically safe environment, provide support to colleagues in need, and promote a culture that destigmatises mental health issues at work.
Through the Workforce Skills Qualification (WSQ)-certified training program, NTUC plans to train 2,500 peer supporters by 2025.
5. Launch the NTUC Starter Membership
To cater to the diverse needs of youths in the areas of work, lifestyle, and transition, NTUC will introduce the digital NTUC Starter Membership.
This membership, targeted at youths aged 18 to 25, aims to provide an integrated and holistic product designed to address their career-related concerns and provide support as they enter the workforce.
At the media briefing, Mr Ng emphasised NTUC’s commitment to supporting youths throughout their careers and lives.
He assured the new generation of workers that NTUC will evolve its programmes and measures to meet their needs, involve them in decision-making processes, create inclusive workplaces, and provide career support and resources.
“There are still going to be many things we will discover along the way, and NTUC hopes to be able to partner our youths to continue to innovate and find better ways to serve them as they transition from school to work and co-create the future of work and workplace with them,” he said.
Mr Choo, who is also chairman of the YTF and advisor to Young NTUC, said: “Ultimately, these recommendations are just our first steps. We must understand that to build a future workforce, it requires a whole-of-Singapore effort.
“What NTUC is trying to do is air the concerns of our younger workers, so that they know they have a platform where their desires can be reflected to a few groups of people – policymakers, employers, HR professionals – so that there’s a better support system for younger people coming into the workforce."
The YTF falls under the larger-scale campaign, #EveryWorkerMatters Conversations, which reflects NTUC’s commitment to strengthening its relationship with workers.