Employment in Singapore
Singapore’s workforce primarily includes Chinese, Malay, Indian and a variety of other races; the common working language is English. Singapore’s main growing industry is manufacturing with a focus on electronics accounting, followed by chemicals and petroleum-refining. The Singaporean economy often relies on foreign employees. As a result, the government has introduced a new cluster of taxpayers, labeled “not ordinarily resident,” that includes those who earn tax exemptions on income earned outside of the country. Singapore’s unemployment rate has been increasing in recent times, but still remains one of the lowest in developed countries.
Changes in the Singapore Employment Landscape
As the Singaporean economy and culture changes over time, the employment landscape has been developing as well.
Increase in freelance and part-time jobs: Fewer poly and ITE grads are in full-time employment now, rather preferring freeland, part-time or temporary work as they continue their education or prepare for full-time work. There is also a trend of people leaving their stable jobs for freelance work for better work-life balance and autonomy.
Higher employee turnover: Young workers in Singapore are advised to change jobs every few years to force pay rises. Working hours have also been rising, leading to Singaporeans working some of the world’s longest hours, with labor laws being decidedly employee-centric. As a result, employee loyalty has decreased, resulting in higher employee turnover rates with approximately 51% of workers being with their employers for under two years.More frequent mid-career switches: Jobs are becoming increasingly obsolete and as a result, many middle-aged workers are getting retrenched and young workers are preparing for the possibility of being forced to make mid-career switches.
Workforce Singapore’s Adapt and Grow Initiative
The Workforce Singapore Adapt and Grow Initiative launched in 2016 with the goal of helping guide and match people to opportunities for good careers. In the first half of 2018, more than 17,000 people were matched to jobs through this program. Approximately ? of those matched had been unemployed, half of which were professionals, managers, executives, and technicians, and a third were aged 50 or above. The government helps businesses hiring with training and even salary costs.
The initiative comes in times where layoffs are increasing, but 2,320 to approximately 3,030, which come primarily from the services sector, 79% coming from professionals, managers, executives, and technicians. The layoffs are primarily due to business restructuring or reorganization rather than recession.
Au-Yong, Rachel. “Over 17,000 Job Seekers Find Employment in First Half of 2018, 40% Increase from Same Period Last Year,” The Straits Times, SPH Digital News, 15 September 2018. “Career, Jobs, Employment in Singapore,” Singapore Expats, Singapore Expats, n.d.Poh, Joanne. “3 ways the employment landscape in Singapore has changed over the years,” AsiaOneOnine, Asia One, 8 March 2018