More workers were retrenched in Q1 – here’s why most of them were PMETs

The labour market report released on Thursday (June 13) revealed that a total of 3,230 employees were retrenched in Q1, an increase from 2,510 in the previous quarter.
The Straits Times

Retrenchment in Q1 2019 is up from the previous quarter, and most of those who were retrenched were professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs), a report by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has revealed.

The labour market report released on Thursday (June 13) revealed that a total of 3,230 employees were retrenched in Q1, an increase from 2,510 in the previous quarter, and 2,320 a year ago.

According to MOM, among the residents retrenched, 68.8 per cent were PMETs. This was followed by clerical, sales and service workers (18.1 per cent) and production and related workers (13.1 per cent).

PMETs were more prone to retrenchments as they made up a higher share of the workforce, MOM said.

During the first quarter of this year, more men (54.9 per cent) were retrenched, and the age group with the highest number (38.9 per cent) of retrenched residents was the over 50s. Additionally, the majority of retrenched residents (47.5 per cent) were degree holders.


When different industries were compared, the report revealed that there was a spike in the number of retrenched workers in the manufacturing sector. During Q1, a total of 1,040 employees in manufacturing were retrenched, compared to 380 in the previous quarter.

Meanwhile, the services industry had a lower number of retrenched workers in Q1, with 1,900 retrenched compared to 1,950 in Q4 last year. The construction sector had the lowest number of retrenched workers, with 280 employees being retrenched in Q1.


Overall, MOM said that the total employment in Q1 grew by 10,7001 – a faster pace than Q1 2018 – and was mostly due to growth in the services industry.

According to MOM, the seasonally adjusted overall and resident unemployment rates in Singapore held steady at 2.2 per cent and 3.0 per cent respectively, but citizen unemployment rates rose slightly from 3.1 per cent in December last year to 3.2 per cent in March.

There was also a slight decrease in long-term unemployment rates for residents from 0.8 per cent in December 2018 to 0.7 per cent in March. Additionally, job leavers were mostly aged below 30 and left due to dissatisfaction with their jobs, MOM said.

There were also fewer job vacancies in Q1 compared to the previous quarter, the report showed. According to MOM, the decrease from 62,300 vacancies in December 2018 to 57,100 in March was the first decline in seven consecutive quarters.

Furthermore, job vacancies continued to outnumber job seekers, with the ratio of job vacancies to unemployed persons standing at 1.08 in March, a decrease from 1.10 in December last year.

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