To develop a productive workforce and progressive workplaces, for Singaporeans to have better jobs and a secure retirement.” That is MOM’s mission statement, and one that they live by faithfully. Leading by example, MOM seeks to create an ideal workplace under its own roof where employees are able to nurture their talents and live up to their full potentials.
This is no more apparent than with the careers of Investigation Officer Dylis Cai Meng and Senior Manager Cynthia Chong Ruixin. We speak to them to find out more about their jobs and the many opportunities that one can expect at MOM.
Tell us about what you do at MOM.
Dylis: As an investigation officer, my job is all about interviews and statements. Through conducting interviews and collecting statements, we are able establish the facts of the individual cases to ensure the well-being, health, and safety of our foreign domestic workers (FDWs) during their employment in Singapore. This contributes to MOM’s vision of “A Great Workforce. A Great Workplace” for everyone in Singapore.
Cynthia: I am with the Foreign Manpower Unit in the Workplace Policy and Strategy Division. My team deals with policies and issues relating to FDWs. A typical day of work starts even before I enter the office, when I read the news on the way to work and see if any FDW issues made the headlines or forum pages. Feedback from the public helps us keep an eye on the effectiveness of current policies and also identifies gaps in awareness that we need to address.
Cynthia Chong Ruixin
Then things start to kick into high gear when I get to the office. I work on policies which often involve collaborating with my colleagues, I deal with feedback from FDWs and employers, and I also present policy reviews and ideas to the senior management where everything gets stress-tested for feasibility and effectiveness.
What sparked your interest in pursuing a career with MOM?
Dylis: I received a call from an employment agency one day and was offered a one-year contract job in MOM as a temporary staff. Like most fresh graduates who may not have a clear direction on their career yet, I did not mind giving this a try. During the one-year period, I had encounters with enforcement work involving FDWs and I began to realise that this is where my interest lies. Eventually when I was offered a permanent position as an investigation officer, I grabbed this opportunity without any hesitation and I began my career with the Foreign Manpower Management Division.
Cynthia: My first job in MOM was with the Corporate Communications Department (CCD). My reasons for joining MOM were pretty practical. One of my majors in university was in Corporate Communications, and I wanted to gain some experience in that field. A communications role in the government was a great start as the salary was reasonable and the issues were varied and interesting.
What are some initiatives that MOM has implemented to bolster your professional development?
Dylis Cai Meng
Dylis: MOM’s service principles, called HEART (which stands for Hear them out, make it Easy, Anticipate their needs, Respect every individual, and be Timely), form the core of my work.
By applying HEART, I learnt to be more understanding and compassionate towards the employers and the FDWs who are involved in our cases. Through anticipating and respecting them, I will know their needs and this helps me find the best way to communicate with them and explain to them about the regulations they have breached.
Cynthia: There has been a great push for us to pick up data analytics and visualisation skills to add greater depth to our work and MOM has provided us with the resources and opportunities to learn and practise these skills. My bosses have also been very flexible with my working hours and I have been able to leave work a little earlier to take night classes at a polytechnic.
As the Ministry that has been pushing Singaporeans to continuously upgrade their skills and remain relevant to the economy, it is only right that we practice what we preach. I try to keep a broad perspective on my career prospects and remind myself to keep learning and take advantage of any opportunity that comes my way.
What advice would you have for those considering a career in MOM?
Dylis: MOM is a ministry which encompasses many roles and functions, ranging from policy-making to enforcement. It is always good to know where your interest and passion lie before deciding which roles and job functions are suitable for you. I always believe you will never be feeling blue as long as you have the passion for what you are doing!
Cynthia: I encourage fresh graduates to understand what they are good at and what they want to develop before taking up a position. Be open-minded when exploring job options and don’t discount yourself. Explore all options before deciding on what helps you to grow the most.