5 things to know about Singapore’s labour market in Q1 2017

5 things to know about Singapore’s labour market in Q1 2017

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Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower (MOM) released its latest labour market report for the first quarter of 2017, summarising the various facets of the local workforce. In the press release, MOM said: “The labour market situation remained mixed, with the overall and resident unemployment rate unchanged from the previous quarter, and redundancies declining slightly compared to a year ago.”

With that in mind, here’s a look at the five things, most relevant to HR challenges, that you need to know about the labour market report:

#1 Outlook of the employment situation

  • Total employment declined by 6,800 in Q1 2017, after modest growth of 2,300 in the previous quarter. This is due to the reduction in the foreign workforce as there were fewer Work Permit Holders in the manufacturing and construction industries.
  • On the other hand, employment continued to grow in the following sectors - community, social and personal services, and financial and insurance services.
  • This combination of factors led to an the increase in long term unemployment rate from 0.7% in March 2016 to 0.8% in March 2017.MOM - total employment change

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  • In the case of locals re-entering the workforce, the six-month re-entry rate among residents made redundant was 64% in the first quarter of 2017, similar to the 65% in the previous quarter.
  • The re-entry rate of older residents aged 50 and over rose, though still below average, while close to eight in 10 (78%) of their younger counterparts in their 30s and below, had the highest rates of re-entry.

MOM - re-entry

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#2 Layoffs and redundancies

  • 4,000 workers were made redundant in the first quarter of 2017, lower than the 4,710 workers during the same period in 2016.
  • The decline in redundancies came primarily from manufacturing (1,990 to 890), services (2,840 to 2,440), while construction reported more redundancies with an increase to 660 from 580.MOM - redundancy by sector
  • On short work-week or temporary layoff basis, there were 1,180 workers in the first quarter of 2017, with 93% placed on short work-week, and the remaining temporarily laid off.MOM - no.of workers on short week

#3 Job vacancies for the unemployed

The seasonally adjusted ratio of job vacancies to those unemployed improved slightly, from 77 job vacancies for every 100 unemployed persons in December 2016 to 81 in March 2017, after seven consecutive quarters of decline. MOM - job vacancy

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#4 Average number of paid working hours

The average total weekly paid hours worked per employee was marginally lower, with 45.2 hours in March 2017, compared to 45.3 hours in December 2016. This reflected a dip in paid overtime hours from 3.1 hours to 3.0 hours.

MOM - no of hours

#5 Overall labour turnover

After an uptick in the fourth quarter of 2016, the seasonally adjusted recruitment rate declined to 2.1% in the first quarter of 2017 from 2.2%. Meanwhile, the resignation rate held steady at 1.8%, since the beginning of 2016.

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Lead photo/ MOM Labour Market Report Images/ MOM Labour Market Report

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