Free Retrenchment Support Resources in Singapore

February 23, 2023

Singapore has been teetering on the brink of its worst recession since independence, though it’s thought that it will avoid recession in 2023 unlike many other countries around the world.

Despite this, GDP growth is expected to slow down, and no industry is immune to this global economic hit.

Across sectors, job losses are on the horizon for many. While the tripartite partners (NTUC, MOM, and SNEF) are trying their best to ensure employers retrench responsibly, getting laid off can be painful, no matter how nicely it was put across.

If you were recently retrenched, what’s important is how quickly you pick yourself up, and move forward with your career and life.

It isn’t going to be easy, but there are thankfully various resources and groups you can reach out to for help.

Retrenchment Singapore Support & Resources

With many potentially affected employees across the country, there are various different resources that you can find help. This includes;

  1. Employee Trade Unions
  2. NTUC’s U PME Centre
  3. e2i
  4. Self-Help Groups
  5. Community Development Councils
  6. Career Matching Providers
  7. Professional Conversion Programmes
  8. Funding Support

With many multinational corporations and businesses registered in Singapore, it’s worth knowing what you can do if you face retrenchment.

1. Employee Trade Unions

If you’re an NTUC member, you can call NTUC to find out which union you can contact. Your union can advise you on your rights, retrenchment benefits and other avenues of assistance you can tap on.

Unions can help retrenched workers get higher retrenchment payouts and help through e2i to find new jobs. Whether you get retrenchment benefit depends on your circumstance, employment contract and the company’s financial position.

Explore MOM’s comprehensive list of employee trade unions here, or NTUC’s list of affiliated unions and associations here.

2. NTUC’s U PME Centre

Catering to Professionals, Managers and Executives (PMEs), NTUC set up the U PME Centre (formerly known as PME Unit) in 2011 to look out for PMEs on four fronts: Protection; Progression; Placement; and Privileges.

The U PME Centre provides PMEs with workplace, career and professional development advisory services.

Contact them for queries on services, or book an appointment to meet their U PME Centre Consultant (NTUC Union Members only).

3. e2i

e2i (Employment and Employability Institute) is a tripartite initiative of the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), set up to support nation-wide manpower and skills upgrading initiatives. They’ve helped more than 470,000 working people since 2008 develop better skills, job matching, and improving productivity with companies.

e2i serves all segments of workers, from rank and file to PMETs. They regularly carry out executive workshops, employability camps, career fairs and personalised career advisory services to help workers find their next calling.

Make good use of e2i’s interactive resources:

You can also make an appointment with an e2i career coach.

4. Self-Help Groups

Self-Help Group (SHG) include the Chinese Development Assistance Council (CDAC), Eurasian Association (EA), Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura (MUIS) and Singapore Indian Development Association (SINDA).

All of them provide a variety of assistance programmes for the community, which also include career support services.

CDAC, for example, offers career consultations to help workers and job seekers identify their training needs, advise them on employment opportunities, and refer them to suitable agencies where needed.

CDAC also provides financial assistance for the retrenched.

5. Community Development Councils

The Community Development Councils (CDCs) were established by the PA Act (CDC Rules & Regulations 1997) to build a tightly-knit, compassionate and self-reliant community in Singapore.

There are currently five CDCs: Central Singapore CDC, North East CDC, North West CDC, South East CDC and South West CDC.

Some CDCs provide employment assistance for the unemployed at the grassroots level, and tap on grassroots initiatives and networks to reach out to the unemployed.

Check out CDC initiatives here:

6. Career Matching Providers

WSG collaborates with private firms that provide career matching assistance for job seekers. You’ll benefit from one-to-one job search support from an employment advisor, and get help with identifying job opportunities.

To be eligible, you must be an unemployed PMET jobseeker who have been actively searching for jobs for at least three months, or have been made redundant/retrenched.

The appointed Career Matching Providers are:

Sign up for Career Matching services here.

7. Professional Conversion Programmes

Under the Adapt and Grow Initiative by Workforce Singapore, Professional Conversion Programmes (PCP) help mid-career PMET (Professionals, Managers, Executives and Technicians) job seekers re-skill themselves and obtain the necessary knowledge and competencies to move into new occupations or sectors.

Programmes provide training and work attachments, which equip job seekers with the necessary competencies and real work experience in the field.

There are 3 types of PCPs:

  1. Place-and-Train: Get hired by a participating employer before undergoing training to take on a new job role.
  2. Attach-and -Train: You’re provided with training and work attachments, prior to job placement, through industry partners in growth sectors with good future job opportunities
  3. Redeployment / Job Redesign (JR) Reskilling: PMETs at risk of redundancy in vulnerable job roles are retained by existing employers, and reskilled to take on new job roles within the same company

Learn more about PCPs here.


If you were recently retrenched, remember – all isn’t lost.

Here’s an example we can learn from – how this Singaporean, retrenched weeks before Covid-19 hit Singapore, coped with his situation.

Use your newfound free time well. Rest, recharge, and recollect yourself.

Perhaps rethink your career objectives and interests. Consider if it’s time to try something new – whether personally or professionally.

Or you could even reinvent and re-skill yourself. Take up courses (make those SkillsFuture credits count!) and learn new skills to stay ahead of industry changes. Alternative employment is possible, and many retrenched employees find themselves learning something new.

Return to Ultimate Singapore Job Search Hub

Harry Suresh
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