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As businesses in Singapore restructured amid the softer economic conditions of 2015, more foreigners in Singapore were made redundant than residents of the country.
According to the latest Ministry of Manpower report “Redundancy and Re-entry into Employment 2015”, Singapore’s foreigners were more likely to be made redundant compared to residents (7.7 compared to 7.1 redundancies per 1,000 employees).
At the same time, foreigners continued to be over-represented among those made redundant with their share among those laid off (42%), higher than their one-third share among all employed (excluding foreign domestic workers).
On the other hand, Singapore’s residents held a significantly lower share of redundancies (58%) than that of the two-third share among the employed.
Among the 9,090 residents who lost their jobs last year, 71% were professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs), followed by production and related workers (16%) while the remaining 13% were clerical, sales and service workers.
The majority of these resident PMETs laid off consisted mostly of those in their 40s (37%) and 30s (32%) while those displaced from the clerical, sales and service (38%) and production and related jobs (59%) tend to be older – in their 50s and above.
Thankfully, while there was a slight dip in the rate of re-entry into employment, 68% in 2014 to 66% in 2015, the rate of re-entry remained fairly stable.
More than 6 in 10 of residents made redundant in the first nine months of 2015 secured employment by December 2015. Additionally, 81% residents who re-entered employment took about three months or less to secure their new job.
Perhaps thanks to the various upskilling initiatives by the Singapore government, most also found a job in a different industry from the one they were made redundant from.
On a whole, layoffs were found to have increased across the board in 2015, rising to 15.580 in total.
According to sector, they were particularly common in the manufacturing (from 3,970 to 5,210) and services (7,260 to 8,510) industries.
“The fall in global oil prices and a slowdown in demand in marine and construction contributed to higher layoffs in manufacturing and professional services (from 1,520 to 2,290) in 2015,” the report stated.
“Wholesale trade (1,490 to 2,150) and financial services (from 1,280 to 1,710) also posted an increase in redundancies, amid global economic uncertainties, on-going restructuring and reorganisation of businesses,” it added.
In the construction industry, for the third year in a row, redundancies went up from 1,690 to 1,780. This was attributed to a reduction in both public and private sector construction demand.
Firms in Singapore cited on-going business restructuring (31.9%) combined with a softer economy (30.8%) as key reasons for redundancy last year.
In 2015, 7.4 workers were made redundant for every 1,000 employees, up from 6.3 in 2014, but still below recessionary highs in 2008 (11) and 2009 (14).
By occupational group, PMETs saw the greatest increase in redundancies from 6,530 in 2014 to 8,550 in 2015.
This group of workers were also found to be at a higher risk of redundancy (8.9 layoffs per 1,000 employees compared to the overall 7.4) than other occupational groups, a pattern observed since 2012. To make things worse, re-entry rates for PMETs were also lower than other occupational groups.
Among the PMETs, those from the services industry were at the highest risk of redundancy, forming the bulk of the layoffs from the occupational group (6,250) with those in professional serviced being the hardest hit (1,830).