HR & EDUCATION | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Employment rates and average incomes rise in 2018

Employment rates for residents 15 & over rose from 64.9% in 2017 to 65.1%.

Employment rates and average incomes for Singapore residents mostly grew in 2018, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) revealed.

According to an advanced release, employment rates for residents aged 15 & over inched up from 64.9% in 2017 and 65.1% in 2018. The employment rate for older residents aged 65 & over from 25.8% to 26.8%, with MoM citing "efforts to improve the employability of older workers."

The employment rate for youths aged 15 to 24 also increased from 34.1% to 34.5%, due to more taking on internships or vacation jobs.

Meanwhile, the employment rate for residents aged 25 to 64 fell slightly from 80.7% in 2017 to 80.3% in 2018. "This mainly reflected a decline in employment rate among women in their 30s, from 82.1% to 80.7%, as more stayed outside the labour force during the year to care for their families," MoM said.

The employment rate stayed high at around 80% for residents aged 25-64. According to MoM, Singapore ranks favourably compared with OECD economies (eighth), especially in terms of full-time employment rate (fourth).

The real median income of full-time employed residents grew by 3.5% per annum from June 2013 to June 2018. This is higher than the 1.9% rate in the previous five years.

According to MoM, sustained efforts to raise the incomes of low-wage workers helped real income growth at the 20th percentile (4.2% p.a.P) grow faster than at the median (3.5% p.a.P) in the recent five years (June 2013 to June 2018), narrowing their gap with the median worker.

"As more job seekers found work, we saw a broad-based moderation in unemployment rate for Professionals, Managers, Executives and Technicians (PMETs) and non-PMETs," the report noted.

The unemployment rate for PMETs aged 50 & over softened even as their long-term unemployment rate rose. "This suggests that whilst such PMETs benefitted from improved labour market conditions, there remains a group who face greater difficulty returning to the workforce," MoM said.

Although the time-related under-employment rate rose from 3% in 2017 to 3.3% in June 2018, there was no evidence of an increase in involuntary time-related under-employment as the proportion of part-timers who wanted to work additional hours but could not find a full-time job was largely the same.

The proportion of resident employees on fixed-term contracts rose from 6.4% to 7.2% even as the share of those in casual or on-call employment held steady. "This suggests greater caution among employers about hiring as the economy continues to restructure, even as the labour market has tightened," MoM said. 

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