Employee redundancy – what is the Singapore government doing about it?
The local labour force is facing some really tough times. Retrenchment is high and it’s increasingly more difficult to get a job from the structural slowing of growth in the local labour force. And according to the Singapore Government’s official website, the local labour force growth could be stalled throughout the coming decade.
The Ministry of Manpower’s statement in September revealed that unemployment for residents rose in June 2016 by 0.3 per cent to a total of three per cent. For the first time since June 2012, there were more jobseekers than job openings during the second quarter, according to the report.
A total of 4,800 employees were made redundant in the second quarter of this year – it’s the highest second quarter redundancy figure since 2009 at 5,980 job reductions. The global financial crisis back then was the cause of such a drop and the current economic situation is causing another dip in the figures.
Local employment, on the other hand, remained flat. This is due to the fact that local employment declines in certain sectors like Manufacturing were offset by local employment growth in other sectors such as Transportation & Storage as well as the Community, Social & Personal Services segments.
The stalling of the labour force growth could be attributed to the aging population as more employees go into retirement, as well as low fertility levels, according to Minister Lim Swee Say.
How Does This Affect Singaporeans?
The country can’t afford to pace its efforts to create jobs for its nationals. Jobseekers aren’t looking for the same jobs that have been vacated – they’ve got specific skill profiles and a better education to their name. Jobseekers also want good jobs that can match their aspirations and expectation scales.
The ultimate goal is not to pursue growth in itself, said Lim, but rather to create a sufficient job pool. One that has substantial quality for Singaporeans to have better income, careers and of course, jobs.
The Action Plan
Lim shares the same sentiments as other concerned citizens – Singapore’s bracing itself over the possibility of a bigger number of layoffs, especially in sectors that have low demand.
The government is amending this with an initiative to help Singaporeans via career and job matching services through its Adapt and Grow programme.
The programme was introduced to help two core groups – Professionals, Managers, Executives and Technicians (PMETs) and rank-and-file (RnF). Within the first eight months of this year, Workforce Singapore and the Employment and Employability Institute, e2i, have aided 20,000 active jobseekers, with more than 13,000 individuals securing jobs.
Lim did admit that there’s been a higher hit for redundancies of PMETs, with 4,000 of them being retrenched in the first half of 2016. The Ministry of Manpower has taken an extra step to help PMETs with the extension of the Career Support Programme to include 2 additional PMET segments – PMETs aged 40 and above who were made redundant (even if they’re unemployed for less than half a year), plus all PMETs who’ve been made redundant and were unable to secure jobs well after six months, even if they’re below the age of 40 years.
Transform, Adapt and Grow Together
Lim concluded by saying that jobs provide the best form of welfare and that full employment is the best protection a Singaporean worker can have. He assured citizens that the tripartite partners will do the best for them at sectoral and national levels.
The people need to improve themselves too, and adapt and grow. The challenge that’s faced by both the Singaporean workers and the government is to transform, adapt and grow together. With this collaboration, Singapore will surely thrive to its full potential again.