More than 200,000 staff in Singapore affected by cost-saving measures as at end-July

More than 200,000 staff in Singapore affected by cost-saving measures as at end-July

As at end-July, about 6,300 employers have submitted notifications on their cost-saving measures to MOM, affecting some 224,800 employees, both local and foreign.

According to this week's Jobs Situation Report by the Ministry of Manpower, about half of affected workers are from three sectors – accommodation and food services (52,600 staff), construction (42,000 staff), wholesale and retail trade (23,800 staff)*.

*Note: The number of employees affected is rounded to the nearest hundred.

The report noted that the volume of notifications peaked during the period of Circuit Breaker but has since decreased significantly.

Between April and June, the number of employers submitting notifications exceeded March even if the number of new workers affected moderated sharply from May.

In July, notifications and number of workers affected have fallen below the level in March, suggesting that companies were making concerted efforts to hold back retrenchments. This is likely encouraged by the broad-based support measures provided by Government.

0820 jsr 20 aug chart 3

Top three cost-saving measures: Salary adjustments, no-pay leave, shorter workweek

The report revealed that the top three cost-saving measures implemented were:

  • Adjustments to monthly salary components
  • No-pay leave
  • Shorter workweek

Local employees make up slightly less than half of all employees affected by cost-saving measures and based on MOM/TAFEP’s engagements, employers have generally been responsible and implemented cost-saving measures fairly.

While retrenchment the Tripartite Advisory on Managing Excess Manpower and Responsible Retrenchments (Tripartite Advisory) has recommended retrenchment to be the last resort, with the mounting pressure on businesses due to the COVID-19 pandemic, job losses are still expected. 

For the affected workers, the Taskforce for Responsible Retrenchment and Employment Facilitation will continue to render support through employment facilitation services that will match them to new opportunities in growth sectors.

More than 4,600 jobs and 860 traineeships/attachments offered by startups

To date, more than 1,600 startups have come onboard SGUnited Jobs and Skills programmes, offering more than 4,600 jobs and 860 traineeships/attachments to local jobseekers.

Roles include unconventional ones such as gallery manager executive, commercial intelligence associate and animator; tech-related roles such as software developers and app developers, and non-tech roles like sous chefs, business development leads and digital content producers.

Between April 2020 and June 2020, around 330 jobseekers have joined the startups with support from the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package. About half were mid-career individuals who took part in Professional Conversion Programmes (PCPs).

In June, companies hosting SGUnited Traineeships started to take in trainees. About 150 fresh and recent graduates have since entered the startup scene through the SGUnited Traineeships Programme to pick up valuable skills and experience in a fast-paced environment.

Workforce Singapore (WSG) will continue to match jobseekers to opportunities in startups and the Government will continue providing support to businesses, both established and new, to build a strong Singaporean core as they expand.

Most recently, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Mr Heng Swee Keat announced that the Government will set aside S$1bn for the Jobs Growth Incentive (JGI) scheme.

The JGI will it will support firms in increasing their headcount of local workers over the next six months. For each new local hire in eligible growth enterprises, the Government will co-pay up to 25% of salaries for one year, subject to a cap. For new hires aged 40 and above, the co-payment will be up to 50%.

MOM's latest report also revealed that contrary to common perception, salaries offered by startups are not necessarily below the industry norm. For instance, the median salary offered for software developers is $6,000, which is in line with industry norm. 

0820 jsr 20 aug table 1

Engagement and outreach efforts

On top of the WSG outreach events reported last week, NTUC’s Employment and Employability Institute (e2i) has intensified its outreach efforts to support jobseekers in their job search and skills upgrading.

In July 2020, NTUC’s e2i organised a total of 22 outreach and engagement activities across Singapore, reaching more than 2,800 jobseekers. These events, include SGUnited Job Interviews for roles in areas such as healthcare, community care, technology, as well as virtual career workshops on topics such as salary negotiations, practical job search tips and networking skills.

Together, NTUC’s e2i and WSG have reached more than 16,000 jobseekers in July 2020.

Photo /

Human Resources Online is on Telegram! Follow us @humanresourcesonline or click here for all the latest weekly HR and manpower news from around the region.   

Follow us on Telegram and on Instagram @humanresourcesonline for all the latest HR and manpower news from around the region!

Free newsletter

Get the daily lowdown on Asia's top Human Resources stories.

We break down the big and messy topics of the day so you're updated on the most important developments in Asia's Human Resources development – for free.

subscribe now open in new window