Labour market remains tight

The Ministry of Manpower has confirmed what Singapore HR directors already know.

Labour market remains tight
The latest Ministry of Manpower (MOM) statistics have no surprising revelations: the first quarter of the year was marked by a tight labour market with low unemployment and job openings continuing to outnumber job seekers.

Released yesterday, MOM’s Labour Market Report First Quarter 2015 showed that after five years of strong increases, employment actually contracted in the first quarter of this year, “amid seasonal declines and sharper moderation in employment growth in the manufacturing and construction sectors, and as well as segments of the services sector (retail trade, real estate services and accommodation & food services),” MOM said.

The Ministry highlighted that the trend could be reflective of two factors – how segments of the economy could be transiting to be less manpower-reliant; and further growth in the local labour force is expected to be limited, given the gains in labour force participation already achieved in recent years.

On a year-on-year basis, total employment grew to 3,617,800 in March 2015, which was 2.7% higher than a year ago.

Statistics relevant to HR include the fact that labour turnover continued to decline, with a 1.8% resignation rate, as did redundancy levels, with 3,500 workers affected in the first quarter.

Real income continued to grow, increasing by 1.7%, including employer CPF contributions.

Unemployment declined over the quarter for overall (from 1.9% to 1.8%), residents (from 2.7% to 2.5%) and citizens (from 2.7% to 2.6%) in March 2015.

The number of job openings continued to outnumber job seekers, with the seasonally adjusted ratio of job vacancies to unemployed persons edged up to 143 openings per 100 seekers in March 2015, from 142 in December last year.

Vacancies were available across all skill levels, with about half (49%) of the vacancies in March 2015 were for PMETs, MOM said.

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