Singapore's employment rate declines in 2023

Government maintains that the labour market is still resilient

Singapore's employment rate declines in 2023

The Singapore government has maintained that the labour market remains resilient despite this year's decline in the overall employment rate.

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) revealed last week that overall employment declined to 66.2% in 2023, falling from a historic high of 67.5% recorded a year before.

Despite this, Singapore is placed fourth when it comes to the employment rates among Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries, according to MOM.

"Due to the efforts of tripartite partners to raise the employability of older workers and to promote the return of women to the workforce, Singapore has consistently maintained its high ranking in employment rate over the decade," MOM said in a statement.

The ministry's data indicate that female employment rose from 55.6% to 60.3% from 2013 to 2023.

In the same decade, the employment rate for individuals aged 65 and above also increased from 22.9% to 30.6%.

Other employment data

Unemployment rate also improved for both Professionals, Managers, Executives, and Technicians (PMET) and non-PMETs in 2023.

The unemployment rate from non-PMETs declined to 3.6% in 2023, while long-term unemployment dipped to 0.5%.

For PMETs, the unemployment rate went down to 2.4% in 2023, while long-term unemployment declined to 0.4%.

Time-related unemployment rate, or the percentage of individuals who normally work less than 35 hours a week, also hit a decade-low of 2.3% in 2023.

"This indicates that more part-time workers in 2023 compared to 2022 were able to have the work hours they want," MOM said.

The number of discouraged individuals also remained at 0.4% in 2023. These are the people outside the labour force who are not actively looking for jobs because they believe it would not yield results.

According to MOM, reasons of discouraged workers include the believe that there is no suitable work for them, employers' discrimination and lack of necessary qualifications, training, skills, or experience.

'Press on with business transformation'

Despite the resilience shown by the labour market, the government is still encouraging employers and workers to utilise available programmes to remain competitive and resilient.

"Economic headwinds will continue to weigh on the labour market going forward," MOM said. "We encourage employers to press on with business transformation and equip their workers for expanded or redesigned job roles. We encourage workers to continue to upskill and be open to new opportunities."

The government said employers can refer to the Jobs Transformation Maps to understand how businesses and job demands can change in response to sectoral trends.

It has also launched a one-stop centre for job redesign, which will allow employers to boost productivity by restructuring work tasks and responsibilities.

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