Singapore reports 'broad recovery' in 2021 labour market

Employment improved, retrenchments declined

Singapore reports 'broad recovery' in 2021 labour market

Singapore's labour market saw "broad recovery" in 2021, according to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), adding that this expected to continue in 2022.

MOM said that resident employment grew at a faster pace in 2021, with gains reported in Information and Communications, Health and Social Services, Professional Services, Administrative and Support Services, and Financial Services.

This growth offset the decline in non-resident employment, and helped the rebound in total employment in 2021, according to MOM.

Unemployment rate also showed steady improvement over the last year, with the annual average significantly lower than in 2020. According to MOM, overall unemployment declined to 2.7%, resident unemployment dropped to 3.5%, while citizen unemployment dipped to 3.7%.

"As structural mismatches tend to take longer to dissipate, the annual average resident long-term unemployment rate in 2021 was unchanged over the year and remained elevated compared to 2018-2019," MOM said in its labour market review.

In addition to this, hiring and job vacancies have also gone up in 2021. MOM attributed the high number of openings to the travel restrictions that affected arriving migrant workers.

"However, with the gradual easing of these restrictions, we expect non-resident workforce numbers to improve in 2022, and job vacancies in sectors with heavier reliance on migrant workers to abate," MOM said.

The number of retrenchments also fell significantly from over 26,000 in 2020 to 8,020 last year, according to MOM, as fewer employees were laid off or placed on shorter work weeks.

"The annual re-entry rate among retrenched residents rose from 62% in 2020 to 66% in 2021 - a six-year high. There were also broad-based improvements across age, education and occupation groups," added MOM.

The ministry said that while growth across sectors remain uneven, recovery is still expected this year barring a sharp slowdown in the global economy.

"The labour market recovery is expected to continue in 2022. However, downside risks in the global economic outlook have increased, which could weigh on the pace of recovery," said MOM.

Read more: Women’s access to labour markets remains limited – study

Initiatives for employers

To further boost Singapore's recovery, MOM said the government is extending the SGUNited Jobs and Skills Package as well as the Jobs Growth Incentive.

The Jobs Growth Incentive offers up to $21,600 who will hire workers aged 40 and above who have been out of work for at least six months. It will also support eligible employers with the 40% salary support for the first $6,000 of gross monthly wages for the first six months, and 20% of the first $6,000 for the next six months.

Meanwhile, the SGUnited Mid-Career Pathways Programme is an initiative where mature trainees can receive up to$3,800 in training allowance, which the government and the host organisation will fund together.

"This will provide another option for mature jobseekers looking to switch careers, in addition to the over 100 Career Conversion Programmes available across about 30 sectors," said MOM.

Recent articles & video

Should companies be offering hot weather leaves?

Individual facing community service for managing unlicensed employment agency in Hong Kong

China leads in generative AI adoption worldwide

Engineer fired for objecting to DEI training: reports

Most Read Articles

Singapore launches cybersecurity skills pathway amid global shortage

Malaysian university ordered to pay over RM530,000 for 'unfairly' retrenching two academics

Introducing Asia's most innovative HR teams