HR & EDUCATION | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Turbulent times ahead for Singapore employment market, warns MOM

Workforce growth is going to remain weak.

It looks like Singapore job seekers will be in for a tough year, as the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) paints a dismal picture for the local employment market in 2016.

According to their latest report, Singapore workforce growth is also expected stay soft on back of demographic effects, while foreign workforce growth will remain muted. Additionally, wages are also anticipated to rise at a more moderate pace than in 2015.

MOM also anticipates modest overall labour demand in 2016.

Hiring in the construction sector is expected to moderate in 2016, on back of fewer awarded contracts in 2015 and sustained sluggishness in private sector construction demand.

The outlook for manufacturing sector is gloomy as well, as hiring demand in the marine and offshore segment is expected to be weak. Risks of further deferments and cancellations loom, and lower oil prices have weakened prospects for new rig orders. Also, there may be negative spillover effects on firms in the precision engineering cluster that support the O&G market.

The services sector may be the only bright light in 2016’s employment market. Sectors such as community, social & personal services are expected to continue to see robust demand for manpower, especially in the healthcare segment.

Meanwhile, redundancies are expected to accelerate in sectors undergoing restructuring and dealing with weak external demand. On the other hand, domestic-oriented services sectors such as community, social & personal services as well as food & beverage services are expected to stay labour reliant.

MOM also expects some consolidation and exit of businesses this year, given the cyclical weakness and the economic restructuring.

With redundancies at its highest since the 2009 Global Financial Crisis, MOM says it is monitoring the current economic and labour market situation. It also asserts it is strengthening employment support to assist displaced locals re-enter employment.

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