Singapore sees 'uptick' in retrenchments from July to November

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Singapore sees 'uptick' in retrenchments from July to November

Singapore's Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has reported an "uptick" of retrenchments in the Information and Communications (I&C) sector over the recent months as global tech companies announced layoffs in their workforce.

Manpower Minister Tan See Leng told Parliament on Monday that they received 1,270 notices of retrenchments for resident workers from tech companies between July and mid-November.

The first half of the year saw 260 residents retrenched, he says.

There are 136,100 workers in the I&C sector as of June 2022, as the number of employed increased over the past five years by an average of 8,100 per year from June 2017 to June 2022.

"In comparison, retrenchment numbers over the past five years have been relatively low, at an average of 790 resident workers per year," says Tan.

Tech and non-tech roles

Eight in 10 of the affected workers were in non-tech roles, according to the minister, and seven in 10 were aged 35 and below.

"They work for tech companies but in non-tech roles, such as sales, marketing, and corporate functions," says Tan.

Half of the firms that retrenched workers have provided career transition services for affected workers, according to the minister. The Taskforce for Responsible Retrenchment and Employment Facilitation (RTF) also offered employment support to affected employees.

"For retrenched non-tech workers, we will also encourage them to consider Career Conversion Programmes (CCPs), as well as skills upgrading to improve their chances of returning to the workforce," says Tan.

The minister was responding to questions in Parliament about how the recent layoffs by large tech companies, such as Meta and Twitter, have affected Singapore's workforce.

Further layoffs

Employers in Singapore are required to notify MOM of their retrenchments within five days of informing affected employees.

The government is "mindful" of further layoffs in the I&C sector given the current economic uncertainties and risks, he says.

"We will continue to closely monitor retrenchment trends and render assistance to affected workers in both tech and non-tech roles through the RTF. We will also continue to work on expanding opportunities in the digital domain and invest in our workers to equip them with the skills and experience to seize opportunities.”

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