Singapore’s labour market saw fewer layoffs last year and a rise in local employment which doubled 2016’s growth

Good news, folks. Local employment is expected to continue to grow in 2018.
The Straits Times

Singapore’s total employment grew in the last quarter of 2017 after contracting in the previous quarters as a result of larger employment growth in services from seasonal hiring, according to preliminary full-year data released by the Manpower Ministry (MOM) on Friday (Jan 26).

For the whole of last year, total employment – which excludes foreign domestic workers – is estimated to have declined by 10,700 (-0.03%), a first since 2003.

This was due to a contraction in foreign employment even though local employment continued to grow by an estimated 21,300 (0.9%) in 2017, nearly double the growth in 2016.

This increase occurred mostly in the services sectors, which includes financial and insurance services, social and personal services and community.

On the flip side, foreign employment – which excludes foreign domestic workers – continued to decline last year (-32,000 or -2.8%) mainly due to the decrease in work permit holders in construction and marine.

This contraction in foreign employment was also larger compared to that in 2016 (-2,500).

There were 14,340 retrenchments in 2017, down from the 19,170 the previous year, with improvements coming from the manufacturing and services sectors.

Year-on year, the nominal median monthly income from work (which includes employer CPF contributions) of full-time employed citizens increased by 5.9% in June last year, or 5.3% in real terms – higher than thr growth in June 2016.

“This could reflect the pick-up in economic growth, changing composition of the workforce and continued restructuring of the economy,” said MOM.

Local employment is expected to continue to grow in 2018 although there are uneveness expected across sectors. Job opportunities are expected to remain available in manufacturing sectors as well as services sectors such as finance and insurance, healthcare and professional services.

Companies are encouraged to keep transforming to remain competitive and at the same time, create better quality jobs for Singaporeans, said MOM, which added that that job-skills mismatch continues to be a growing structural challenge here.

The tripartite partners will help companies through the Lean Enterprise Development Scheme, and help workers to re-skill and seize new job opportunities through the SkillsFuture and Adapt and Grow initiative.