HR & EDUCATION | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Local employment nearly doubled in 2017 as economy improved: MoM

But job-skills mismatch continues to be a challenge due to ongoing economic restructuring.

In 2017, improvements in the economy and labour market translated into better employment outcomes for locals, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) revealed. Local employment grew, fewer residents were retrenched, and citizen median income grew at a faster pace.

According to its statement on the labour market, local employment grew by 21,300 in 2017, nearly double the growth in 2016 (11,200). “Growth occurred mainly in the Financial & Insurance Services, Information & Communications, Professional Services, and Healthcare sectors, which have relatively higher shares of Professionals, Managers, Executives & Technicians (PMETs) occupations,” it said.

Retrenchments declined to 14,720 in 2017, significantly lower than that in 2016 (19,170) but higher than in the earlier part of the decade when retrenchments averaged about 12,000 between 2011 and 2015. “The main reason for retrenchments in 2017 continued to be business restructuring and reorganisation. Residents remained proportionately less affected, with their share of redundancies (61.9%) remaining lower than their share of employment (67.2%),” MOM said.

Moreover, the nominal median monthly income from work (including employer CPF contributions) of full-time employed Singaporeans increased by 5.9% over the year to $4,050 in June 2017 or 5.3% in real terms. MOM said, “This was faster than the growth in June 2016 (nominal: 0.7%, real: 1.3%), and could reflect the pick-up in economic growth and changes in the composition of the labour force.”

However, job-skills mismatch continues to be a challenge due to ongoing economic restructuring, the changing nature of jobs and shifts in the profile of the resident labour force

“MOM and Workforce Singapore (WSG) will press on with efforts under the Adapt & Grow (A&G) initiative. For PMETs, we will continue to step up outreach efforts through our tripartite partners, sector agencies, and trade associations, whilst also expanding the range of Professional Conversion Programmes (PCPs).

MOM urged companies to tap into available support under A&G to upgrade and update the jobs and skills of their at-risk employees, and to reskill mid-career new hires to meet their manpower needs.

Moreover, rank-and-file workers will receive enhanced wage support under the place-and-train programme, whilst the enhanced Career Trial will provide lower- and middle-income workers with more opportunities to try out new careers. “Workers in employment are also encouraged to continually refresh their skills to keep pace with new demands as the economy transforms. With more older Rank-and-File workers entering retirement over the next few years, businesses will also increasingly need to focus on upgrading jobs and wages through better productivity and job redesign, in order to attract higher-skilled and younger locals,” the ministry said.

Companies can also tap into the Capability Transfer Programme (CTP) to transfer global capabilities to our local workforce. “Together with ongoing efforts to enhance the complementarity between our local and foreign workforce, this will help ensure that our workforce remains competitive and adaptable in a vibrant and innovative economy,” MOM concluded. 

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