Singapore's employment rate rises for second year in a row

'A larger proportion of our resident population was engaged in work – even higher than pre-COVID times'

Singapore's employment rate rises for second year in a row

Singapore's resident labour force improved in 2022, as unemployment fell while a "larger proportion" of the population were engaged in work.

That’s according to findings from the Ministry of Manpower’s Advance Release of the Labour Force in Singapore 2022 which revealed that employment rate for residents aged 15 and over went up to 67.5% in 2022 — going up for the second year in a row.

"A larger proportion of our resident population was engaged in work, even higher than pre-COVID times," said Manpower Minister Tan See Leng.

The broad-based improvement in resident labour force performance “reflects the continued economic recovery and the gradual normalisation of business and social activities,” says the government.

PMETs see gains

The unemployment rate also fell to 2.6% for Professionals, Managers, Executives, and Technicians (PMET), and to 4.4% for non-PMETs. The long-term unemployment rate, or the percentage of people who have been unemployed for 25 weeks of more, also decreased to around pre-COVID levels for PMETs (0.5%) and non-PMETs (0.7%).

The number of workers who are not actively looking for a job because they believe it won't yield results also continued to go down to 8,900 or 0.4% of the resident labour force in 2022.

The findings come as a recent survey from JobStreet found that hiring plans for 52% of Singapore employers are back to pre-pandemic levels, as more roles are recovered and layoffs become less frequent.

MOM's advance release also revealed that real media income growth improved to 2.1% in 2022, with lower-wage workers seeing stronger income growth than the median workers due to the Progressive Wage Model.

Employers across Singapore are already being urged to "reward employees with wage increases," as stated in the 2022/23 guidelines from the National Wages Council (NWC).

Government supports

Despite the improvement in the labour market, the economy could still be affected by "inflation and uncertain geopolitical conditions," according to Tan.

"We will continue to monitor the situation closely and stand ready to provide assistance to companies and workers where needed," he said on a Facebook post.

Amid the evolving economic environment, employers are being encouraged to make full use of government programmes to adapt and accelerate the pace of transformation.

“This will enable us to develop our workers and build a more competitive and resilient workforce, while ensuring that wage growth is sustainable and supported by productivity growth,” says the government.

  • Employers can take advantage of the Support for Job Redesign under Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG-JR), to make their jobs more productive and attractive to jobseekers.
  • Workforce Singapore (WSG) also offers Job Redesign Reskilling Programmes to support employers in upskilling existing employees to take on enhanced job roles.
  • The SGUnited Mid-Career Pathways Programme offers attachment opportunities for mid-career jobseekers, with allowances of up to $3,800 per month. This allows employers to better assess the job-fit of mature jobseekers, while providing them an opportunity to undergo training and widen their professional networks.

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