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Singapore’s employment rate at all-time high: MOM

Singapore’s employment rate and wages have improved, with low-income earners now taking home 31 per cent more compared to five years ago. Residents in full-time jobs also earned more – their median monthly income grew by 1.8 per cent over the year to S$3,770.

SINGAPORE: A Manpower Ministry report released on Friday (Nov 28) showed Singapore’s employment rate rose to an all-time high of 79.7 per cent this year – up slightly from the 79 per cent in 2013.

The labour market saw an increase in women and older workers. Employed residents, especially low-wage workers, also drew higher salaries. More Singapore residents aged between 25 and 64 were employed this year, according to data from a survey conducted in June.

The employment rate for women aged between 25 and 54 also hit a record, at 76 per cent – compared to 74.3 per cent in the previous year.

More older workers were also hired, increasing from 65 per cent in 2013 to 66.3 per cent this year.

Ms Ho Geok Choo, CEO of Human Capital Singapore, said: “We have more creative ways of engaging the senior workforce. For instance, while in the past we often see the elderly only ending up cleaning tables and cleaning floors, today we are seeing them switching to other service-related types of jobs.”

“Increasingly, you see them at the service counters of retail outlets, or even at the food and beverage outlets, you will see many of them doing cashiering and waitering. So I think the jobs have become more meaningful as a whole,” she added.

Another way to develop gainful employment for the elderly is getting younger seniors to help their older counterparts

Ms Ho said: “We know Singapore is ageing and we will be faced with quite a big cohort of senior citizens. One way is to consider using the younger spectrum of the seniors to help the older spectrum.

“So what we can do here is in the wellness industry – where we can go into some kind of paramedical services, not so much what the nurses are doing, but more of helping the seniors to stay active.”

This can be the provision of services such as companionship, reading or accompanying older seniors for social recreational activities, she added.

WAGES INCREASES MOST PROMINENT AMONG LOW-WAGE WORKERS

Wages also improved, with the most prominent increase among low-wage workers.

Compared to five years ago, low-income earners now take home 31 per cent more (or 12 per cent more after adjusting for inflation), with a median monthly salary of S$1,972.

Overall, residents in full-time jobs also earned more. The median monthly income grew by 1.8 per cent (or 0.4 per cent after adjusting for inflation) over the year to S$3,770.

The Manpower Ministry said this follows “exceptionally high increases” of 4 per cent in 2013. This was partly pulled up by the initial effect of the Wage Credit Scheme launched last year. Under the scheme, the Government co-funds the wage increases given to Singaporean employees.

As the subsidies wear off next year, human resource experts said employees will have to moderate their expectations. But they said companies should still offer competitive wages to retain talent.

Ms Femke Hellemons, country manager at Adecco Singapore, said: “So looking forward, salaries probably will keep increasing, probably at a modest pace as well. But of course, there will be differences within the labour market because those companies that know that they need the best talent and to retain the best talent, will keep on offering competitive packages.”

Ms Ho added: “Once the support is taken off, employers may have to moderate that quantum of annual increment. But having said that, I would say that we must continue to pay those who perform well good increments so that we are able to better retain these talents.

“For the average performers, I think they have to understand that the annual increment quantum will have to be moderated.”

Looking ahead, analysts expect sectors such as biosciences, pharmaceuticals, construction, financial services and IT to remain strong.

 

Source: CNA