These workers were worst hit by the COVID-19 crisis

The impact of the pandemic varied widely across sectors, reveals Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower

These workers were worst hit by the COVID-19 crisis

Unemployment impacted Singapore’s youths and low-wage workers hardest this year, revealed the Ministry of Manpower (MOM).

Median income in Singapore also saw a dip – a first since 2004, according to the ministry’s advanced labour report. Income dropped 0.3% this year, as compared to the 2.2% growth in 2019.

The upside: experienced workers remained in demand. A large rate of companies continued to hire employees aged 25 to 64. Meanwhile, Singapore saw ‘sustained improvement’ in the hiring of silver workers (65 and older).

Youths younger than 24 years old, however, lacked job opportunities and were forced to remain in education or settle for part-time jobs.

Read more: COVID-19 to have 'devastating' impact on Gen Z

Unfortunately, the report also found that organisations that were more severely hit by the COVID-19 crisis had a higher concentration of non PMETs (professionals, managers, executives and technicians) like frontline service staff, labourers, and other rank-and-file workers.

These hard-hit companies also had a higher number of low-wage workers than other sectors, including the self-employed who earned much lesser this year.

Read more: Money woes affecting employee engagement

Some employees earned less due to shorter working hours. This was largely due to the inability to do their jobs remotely. However, the hours lost was lower than that experienced during 2009’s global financial crisis.

MOM found that close to half (49%) or 1,094,900 Singaporeans worked from home due to COVID-19.

Expectedly, a larger proportion of PMETs and clerical workers did so. This was compared to other groups of non-PMETs, such as service & sales workers, craftsmen and cleaners, whose work typically needs to be done on-site or involve the use of machinery, vehicles or tools.

Read more: Singapore enhances COVID-19 support measures

The government urged employers to tap on available grants and resources and support workers through the crisis.

“To support companies to sustain their business and accelerate transformation and restructuring, the government has also provided substantial support through the Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) and various enterprise development programs,” MOM said.

“Under the expanded Productivity Solutions Grant for Job Redesign (PSG-JR), companies can also receive support for JR consultancy services that will help redesign work processes, tasks, duties and responsibilities so that more non-PMET job roles can be done remotely.”

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