Latest figures show a bleak trend in Singapore’s labour market.
The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) reported in its most recent labour market study that retrenchments increased from 2,320 in Q2 to 2,900 in Q3.
Service industries faced the most number of job cuts followed by manufacturing and construction. The current MOM report does not cover retrenchment data among professionals, executives, managers, and technical specialists.
Analyst Irvin Seah of DBS is concerned about the retrenchment rate among PMETs, calling them the “most vulnerable segment in the market.”
“This is against conventional wisdom as most people assume that the lower-wage workers are more prone to retrenchment, which is not the case in Singapore,” he said as quoted in a report by Bloomberg.
The MOM also reported that unemployment rate increased from 2.2 percent Q2 to 2.3 percent in Q3. More Singaporean citizens and permanent residents became unemployed as well, with the combined rate at 3.2 percent compared to 3.1 percent in Q2.
Bloomberg described the trend as “worsening” considering Singapore has not seen such a trend in the past two years.
According to the ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey for Q4, eight percent of the 669 surveyed employers in Singapore expect a decrease in staff members and hiring by the end of the year while 77 percent anticipate that nothing will change in their hiring plans. Only 13 percent of employers report an increase in employment trends in Q4.
The ManpowerGroup survey found a “steady” job growth in Singapore’s Public Administration & Education sector, a “moderate” hiring trend in the Mining & Construction, while the Transportation & Utilities sector is expected to cut down on hiring.
In a Facebook post, Minister Josephine Teo said that job “mismatches are widening,” and attributed the mismatch to the skills gap among jobseekers or “insufficiently attractive” job opportunities.
“Closing the gaps requires both jobseekers and employers to be more open and flexible,” she added./TISG