Redundancies on the rise in Singapore, with expat jobs most at risk

Author: PM editorial | Date: 27 Apr 2016

White collar workers hit hardest, but Ministry of Manpower says there are more vacancies than unemployed people

The number of people made redundant in Singapore last year jumped by almost 20 per cent, with a weakening economy and “business restructuring” among the key factors.
According to a statement by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) in its Redundancy and Re-entry into Employment 2015 report, there were 7.4 job losses for every 1,000 people, and more than 15,000 redundancies overall. However, this was still much lower than the 2008-09, when global recession hit the city-state hard and redundancies reached 11 per 1,000.
In a statement, the MOM said: “The labour market in 2015 remains tight, with the unemployment rate remaining low. Job vacancies also continue to outnumber job seekers.” According to MOM statistics, there are 113 job vacancies for every 100 unemployed people.
Redundancies are mainly seen in manufacturing and professional services, with lay-offs also rising in the wholesale trade and financial services sectors.
The MOM pointed out that while there had been a rise in job losses, Singaporeans’ jobs are comparatively safer – redundancies for foreigners were 7.7 for every 1,000 compared to 7.1 for residents.
Among residents, those aged 40 and over formed the majority (65 per cent) of the redundancies. PMETs (professionals, managers, executives and technicians) were a particularly vulnerable group with 8.9 layoffs per 1,000 employees compared to the overall rate of 7.4.
Encouraging findings in the MOM report included a shorter working week for employees, falling slightly to 45.6 hours a week from 46 hours a week in 2014.
There was also a rise in the labour force participation rate to 68.3 per cent, continuing a trend that began in 2010. Labour force participation is the proportion of the working-age population that engages actively in the labour market, either by working or looking for work.
In March, People Management reported that one in three unemployed Singaporeans are graduates.