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Unemployment has always been a key concern and a pressing issue worldwide. In this essay, I would like to focus on the unemployment rates in Singapore. Being a small country, having a high employment rate is disastrous to the economy and it is vital that Singapore continues to maintain a low unemployment rate to maintain its lead in terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) when compared to the world. Based on statistics from the Ministry of Manpower, the annual citizen unemployment rates is around 2.9-3.3% for the last 5 years, with a high of 3.3% in 2017.
There are many possible problems that could arise from low employment rates, some of which includes, graduates not being able to find a job and being held in debt due to the loan they have taken to attend college. There might be also the possible increase in crime rates due to citizens not having an income and turning to crime to sustain their economic needs adversely affecting the safety and wellbeing of a country. Unemployment also leads to the absence of income where families will face difficulties meeting ends meet and possibly denying necessary educational opportunities to their children which in turn deprives the economy of those future skills. All in all, unemployment is a very serious issue that can have a self-inflicting perpetuating negative impact on businesses and have a detrimental effect on the overall economic health of the country.
Based on a study conducted by technology firm Cisco and economic forecasting agency Oxford Economics, about one-fifth of Singapore’s full time equivalent workforce would have their job displaced by technology. With technology spearheading changes in the world and being highly prevalent in today’s society, it has also come at a cost of shortchanging people of jobs. This is extremely apparent especially in the retail sector where many prominent retailers are reporting losses due to online competition. Some examples of big retailers closing store in Singapore are Isetan Westgate and Crabtree and Evelyn who would be shutting their store in the coming months due to losses and this will indirectly affect many employee because of the loss of jobs. Over at the manufacturing sector, machines are also expected to replace low skills jobs such as cleaning which a robot could potentially perform. This has created an immense pressure for struggling elderly workers to keep up or be replaced. With technology on the rise, the loss of jobs to technology will only be more prevalent than ever.
In my opinion, computational thinking can be used to address the unemployment rates in Singapore. Computational is defined as being able to be calculated or quantified. Many solutions can be derived with the aid of computational thinking by analyzing the unemployment trends in Singapore over the past decade, categorizing them based on the different age groups, educational background or job sector. These data then can effectively use to try to match workers to jobs.
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