Friday, March 05, 2010

Unemployment in Singapore

Hi Mr Tan,
I am a keen reader of your blog and I remember previously you were keeping track of employment and retrenchment statistics.

Just want to highlight that MOM recently updated their stats, and also included a new one: Re-Employment i.e. what percentage of retrenched workers were able to find another job within 6 months.

The numbers are not as nice as reported in the news:

1. For 2009, the overall unemployment rate is 3% while the unemployment rate for residents (incl. PRs) is 4.3%. This is higher than in 2001 and just slightly lower than for year 2002. If just looking just at citizens, the unemployment rate may be 5% or higher.

2. The total workers retrenched in 2009 is 19,500. This is similar to year 2002. If combined with 2008, the total number retrenched is 33,420. This is higher than in 1998.

3. Looking at the Re-Employment stats, the percentage of retrenched workers in 2009 who found another job within 6 months is only about 50% or less. This is worse than during the last long recession from 2001 to 2003.

Below is URL for MOM's main statistics page:




Anonymous said...

I'm not a expert in any field but to me what stats are just stats..
In the past one might just have retrenched but they find another job which could just enough to give them and family a simple bowl of rice in time of crisis...
But now we or should i say myself... maybe more educated or "face" conscious that i cant go casino, resturant or places which i have to face customer to work. Maybe pay are just too little for me to go for my facial sessionsSs~ or even for me to doll myself up..

Or even We feel its a good time to go for studies or to upgrade ourselves since our Gov encourage us to do it...

My point of view. Sorry if i offended anyone. But i just don think most stats tell much.. a good reference maybe?

C H Yak said...

The data is not promising for PMETs and will not support the Govt.'s economic strategy to boost "productivity".

Logically, there should be lesser PMETs as compared to lower rung workers in the labour force.

But the numbers of PMETs retrenched is almost equivalent to the number of lower rung workers retrenched, with retrenched adminstrative workers remaining almost the same. This is my observation over the previous years' data from MOM website.

This does not spell well and will not support the Govt's effort to transform our economy by boosting "productivity".

As I noted in a separate posting, we need PMETs who are motivated to re-engineer buiness and production processes to support productivity growth...worker re-training by NTUC will not help much.

While workers are generally protected by labour laws against retrenchment, PMETs are generally not protected. A contradiction.

Positive MIND said...

Statistics can be interpreted in many ways. I do not rely on them too much.

Most of the unemployed are lower skilled operators and in manufacturing.

The economy is fine. Look at the hawker centres, property sales, stock markets, COEs.. all are steady and have not collapsed. The traffic on the expressways are horrendous including the trains.. even at 10pm!

The Government has been assuring and the numbers of people visiting the Casino is encouraging. Changi airport has seen a rise in passenger numbers.. NATAS travel fair has seen record sales.

PSA has seen increase in shipments and the electronics sector has picked up with Purchasing Managers' Index up to 51% ( which indicates an expanding economy )

These unemployed will need to be re skilled to be able to find new jobs... it is not an alarming number. There are still jobs.. they need to take the first step in getting trained.

I was formerly from the hospitality business but was told to leave after 30 years with the same employer.. ( another story )
I decided to re skill myself and after 3 full months, I am qualified to deliver training modules for WDA in WSQ programmes.

This is possible if one has a positive mindset and belief in one's self. Most unemployed people are caught in a downward spiral and cannot get out.

The Gov can help them with motivation programmes and encourage them to go for training in what they do best.

Currently,the unemployed are abused with training for new skills that are not matched to their natural abilities.. it is doomed to fail from the start.

Find and match the passion.. and success will follow.

Anonymous said...

"Currently,the unemployed are abused with training for new skills that are not matched to their natural abilities.. it is doomed to fail from the start."

10:47 am

Quite true. And I would add that maybe these form the majority.

So it is a big failure, individually and as a whole. And a lose-lose situation for all except for the training providers.

These training programs is just to show something is being done for the unemployed but not much to ensure desired outcome and result.

Anonymous said...

That's why I refused to attend those WDA and SPUR training programmes. When I was retrenched in mid-2008, I went to CDC for advise and help, and all they could do was ask me to go for this course that course etc. Some of my unemployed friends attended and they regretted for wasting their time and precious money. Why? Because it is not effective where it counts -- just getting a decent $2K/month job.

I attended the marketing talks for some of those "re-skilling" and "upgrading" courses, and I can say that it is mostly bullshit. The trainers are just tapping on WDA and the recession for a ready pool of customers, and taking 90% of their revenue from taxpayer monies.

After lobo-ing for 6 months and talking to coffeeshop kakis, I spend $65 to pass the 2 modules of certification for security guard on my own. And with some lobang, got night-shift duty where I can still sleep 5-6 hours after locking down the place. Pretty ok for $1.4K/mth, 6 days a week duty.

Thank goodness I am debt-free, my 2 kids have just graduated and working, otherwise things would be very different like some of my friends.

Anonymous said...

There is a growing problem of the long-term unemployed for PMETs in singapore. Many of them drop out of the govt radar and statistics. Do you know that those who are still jobless after 6 months are no longer counted as unemployed? Ditto for those attending SPUR training and getting $900/mth allowance. And how many PMETs are doing jobs just for survival, performing tasks way below their capabilities and earning far below their potential? These are known as under-employed and I don't see MOM putting out regular figures for this.

The really low-wage workers such as cleaners and factory workers are truly reliant on WDA and govt to get them job openings. They don't have much savings and are desperate to do any job. And they are usually exploited by the new employers. For example, whenever there is a new tender and change of cleaning company, the existing cleaners will receive lower pay and benefits. Becoz the winning tender is the one who bid the lowest price.

As for the PMETs, some of them are prudent and have sufficient savings. They are also "lucky" in the sense that they bought homes when property prices were much cheaper in the 1980s and benefited from big salary increases during those times. If their homes already paid up, children grown up, and perhaps parents passed away already, then their financial burden is minimal. They don't see the point of going for unproven training with no guarantee of job, and probably the jobs are also in the range of $1500 to $2000 only.

These PMETs have the luxury to take their time, in the meantime do work such as drive taxi, forex trading, and "consulting" --- many such work are unrecorded and no CPF to track. This group will disappear from the unemployed stats.

I am 55years old.. said...

It is important to define what one wants to do and love doing it.

Going to CDCs and all that can lead to wrong advice.

There is a deep focus on getting jobs. Although having a job and earning an income is important, we need to match the skills of the individual with the job.

No point in telling the unemployed that there are thousands of jobs at the Casino, when the person does not enjoy customer care or interaction, or doing housekeeping duties!

Retraining them to suit the role is over simplistic, and allows the employer to abuse the system.

A skill and aptitude appraisal should be conducted BEFORE suggesting any training.

We have come so far in our economic journey, it is time to adopt a more intelligent way to develop our human capital. The short term solution of importing people to fill jobs is not tenable.

We do not have unskilled people.
We have poor Human Capital management.There are thousands of people above the age of 40 or 50 years that have a wide spectrum of skills, knowledge and attitudes. Evaluate their skills and you will find treasure and diamonds!

It will remain hidden because employers and business owners want quick fixes and at a very very cheap price.This being the case, we will be stuck in low productivity and our neighbours will catch up.

The resource is there.. seek and you will find talent,reliability that the young, migrant worker will never have.. for they are rootless.

We have done our National Service
We are Singaporean..
We have laksa gravy in our blood!

Anonymous said...

Some countries protect jobs and they make sure citizens are key to National stability.

Many times I've met with so called Foreign Talents, who are coming here in droves, newly graduated, some skills and lower wage expectations as a pretext of getting employed.......meantime, set their radar & networking for better job opportunities preferably in US, Australia,Canada or EU.
Why?...using Singapore as stepping stone.

Poor PMETs, some driving taxis or unemployed.......The realty check on unemployment, is to have a national census. This will reflect a true picture rather than base on estimates etc.

In a small country, you either algamate, automate, migrate or evaporate!

Golf-In-City - A Slice Golfer Journal said...

I am a IT PMET who have vast APAC region experience and was even relocated oversea for few years previously. But I was asked to "resign" back after the sub-prime crisis due to restructuring exercise from the headquarter. Since after that I have sent over 200 job application letter for more than 18 months after retrenched and only attended one interview.
I have called up a few recruitment agencies and is always answered by other FTs who are Indian, Filipino, Caucasian whom always would tell me off to wait for the email reply if I get shortlisted. Which so far have never received any reply from them. I think they are acting as gate keeper and is only recruiting more so call FTs from their own country.
I have even went to the CDC and was told to wait for a match since they are usually extending to help the lower educated or lower wage group first.
For a while I was lost and luckily for me I stood up fast and is now a self employed Realtor making decent commission, but in fact I missed being an engineer running projects and program and closing enterprise deals.
I guess I will go see my MP once I have sent 500 job application letters and with no interview call up.

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