Commenting on a report in a Facebook post, Patrick Tay, NTUC's Assistant Secretary-General, noted that it is important to continue the focus on reskilling and upskilling our workers especially the vulnerable ones. The comment was made on the back of an occasional paper by Singapore's Manpower Research and Statistics Department which revealed labour statistics of Singapore citizens.

Across age group, citizen unemployment rate was lower than average with the exception of younger citizens aged below 30 saw an above average unemployment rate of 6.2%.

Although older citizens have a below average unemployment rate, they tend to stay unemployed longer. The median duration of unemployment among citizens aged 50 and over was 12 weeks in June 2019, compared with 8 weeks for all unemployed citizens.

As a result, the long-term unemployment rate for older citizens aged 50 and over (0.8%) was slightly higher than that for all citizens (0.7%).

Segmenting the population by education level, those with post-secondary (non-tertiary) and diploma & professional qualifications also had above-average unemployment rate, pulled up by the higher share of younger citizens in these education groups. This group also had higher long-term unemployment rate than the other education groups, though the difference was smaller than that for unemployment rate.

The number of discouraged workers* who were Singapore citizens has been broadly stable for the most part of the decade. It has declined in the past three years to 6,700 in June 2019, making up just 0.3% of the citizen labour force.

*Note: Discouraged workers are persons outside the labour force who are not actively looking for a job because they believe their job search would not yield results

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Commenting on the report, Tay said: "Looking at the profile of workers unemployed, retrenched and are long-term unemployed as well as discouraged, it is important we continue our work to help mature workers, PMETs as well as focus on re-skilling and up-skilling our workers especially the vulnerable ones. Both workers and companies/businesses therefore need to stay ready, relevant and resilient : ready with the in-demand skills, relevant to the new jobs created, and resilient to the peaks and troughs of the economy/industry/sector."

On the bright side, the report also revealed that there has been an increase in employment rate of Singapore citizens, they continued to earn higher incomes, an the number of professionals, managers, executives & technicians (PMETs) among employed Singapore citizens have increased steadily.

  • Employment rate of Singapore citizens has  increased over the last decade (from 60.0% in June 2009 to 63.6% in June 2019).
  • The increase was driven most consistently by those aged 65 & over. This reflected efforts to raise the employability of older workers.
  • The number and share of professionals, managers, executives & technicians (PMETs) among employed Singapore citizens have increased steadily from 742,800 (47%) in June 2009 to 1,050,300 (56%) in June 2019.
  • Singapore citizens continued to earn higher incomes in the recent five years.
  • The real median income growth for full-time employed Singapore citizens from June 2014 to June 2019 (3.9% p.a.) was also faster than the growth from June 2009 to June 2014 (2.1% p.a.).
  • Real income growth at the 20th percentile was also faster in the recent five years (4.6% p.a.) than the earlier five years (1.5% p.a.).
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