Number of over-50s unable to find work in Singapore rises yet again

Author: PM editorial | Date: 15 Jun 2016

Increased employment for young people offsets tougher times for others

The increase in employment for the under-30s is offsetting a rise in unemployment for other demographic groups in Singapore, according to statistics released by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) for the first quarter of 2016.

Total employment grew by 13,000 in the first quarter of 2016, although that was lower than the growth of 16,100 in the fourth quarter of 2015. The drop in unemployment was more pronounced for citizens (2.9 per cent to 2.7 per cent) than residents (3 per cent to 2.6 per cent).

However, the rate of re-entry into employment for the over-50s fell for the fourth consecutive quarter, meaning that older workers who are made redundant are finding it increasingly difficult to get a new job. The over-40s accounted for 65 per cent of all the redundancies that took place during that period.

The news that the over-50s would be worst affected by the economic slowdown has been anticipated by the Singaporean government, which recently announced a S$66 million fund to redesign jobs for older workers.

“Amid softer economic conditions and, as the economy restructures, redundancies are expected to rise in sectors affected by weak external demand,” said the MOM in a statement. It added that, although jobs continue to outnumber jobseekers, the ratio had fallen to 103 jobs per 100 jobseekers – the lowest ratio since June 2012, when it hit 98 jobs per 100 jobseeker.

The number of workers made redundant in the first quarter of 2016 (4,710) was lower than the preceding quarter (5,370), but was the highest first quarter level of redundancies since 2009. Also at its lowest since 2009 was the re-employment rate; just 46 per cent of Singaporeans made redundant in the final quarter of 2015 had found work again by March 2016.

Of the 4,710 recorded redundancies in the first quarter of the year, more than half were PMETs (professionals, managers, executives and technicians).