Amid the tough economic climate, 2015 has proved to be a tough year for Singaporean PMETs with many of them losing their jobs due to the wave of layoffs.
The latest Ministry of Manpower labour market report found that the annual number of redundancies has been on an upward trend since 2010.
For the whole of 2015, the number of workers laid off added up to 15,580.
This was a significant increase compared to 12,930 in 2014.
At the same time, the incidence of redundancy rose to 7.4 redundancies per 1,000 workers, up from 6.3 in 2014.
Going by occupational group, Singapore’s professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) were the hardest hit, forming the bulk of redundancies (71.1%).
Next on the chopping board were workers in clerical, sales and service occupations, forming 13.4% of the redundancies, followed by production and transport operators, cleaners and labourers (15.5%).
Sector wise, while layoffs increased across the board, the bulk of redundancy came from the services sector (55%), followed by manufacturing (33%) and construction (11%).
Thankfully, “based on Central Provident Fund (CPF) records, 50% of residents made redundant in the third quarter of 2015 secured employment by December 2015, down from 55% from the previous quarter, and 59% from the same period a year ago,” the report stated.
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As companies continue to layoff workers in a continued effort to restructure towards a more productive and manpower-lean economy, the number of job vacancies were found to have declined.
While vacancies still outnumber job seekers, the ratio had moderated to 113 job openings for every 100 job seekers in December 2015, down from 116 in September 2015 and 142 in December 2014.
The decline in vacancies year-on-year was broad-based across broad occupations.
The decline in vacant PMET positions were mainly in community, social & personal services (-2,600) and professional services (-1,200).
For nonPMETs, the bulk of the declines came from food & beverage (-1,300), construction (-1,300), transportation and storage (-1,100) and manufacturing (-800).
On the bright side, of the 50,600 vacancies available in December 2015, 47% of them were for PMETs.
Another 29% were for clerical, sales and service workers, and the remaining 24% were for production and transport operators, cleaners and labourers.
The report also found that after the high local employment growth in 2014 (96,000 or 4.4%) and 2013 (82,900 or 4.0%), for the whole of 2015, local employment growth was flat at 700 or 0.0%.
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In the meantime, foreign employment growth moderated to 31,600 or 2.3% in 2015 from 2.6% in 2014.
Overall, total employment slowed from the 3 to 4% growth between 2011 and 2014 to 0.9% (or 32,300) in 2015, one of the slowest since 2003 (-12,900 or -0.6%).
In December last year, locals formed two thirds (2,268,900) of all persons in employment, while foreigners made up the remaining one third (1,387,300).
“Even though local employment growth slowed, the resident and citizen unemployment rates remained low, and there was sustained growth in median income for citizen workers in 2015,” the report stated.
Unemployment remained broadly unchanged since 2011, averaging at a low 1.9% overall for the whole of 2015.
Resident unemployment was slightly lower than citizen unemployment (2.8% compared to 2.9%).
Quarter-on-quarter, the unemployment was found to have declined to 1.9% overall, residents (2.9%) and citizens (3.0%) in December 2015.