Singapore annual jobs growth to 'stabilise' at levels far below previous years: Lim Swee Say

The job addition will be not more than 25,000 to 40,000 in the next three to five years, the Manpower Minister said.

Singapore job market
Job seekers in a Singapore job fair. Reuters

Singapore, which used to add 100,000 to 120,000 jobs every year in the past has seen the additions sinking in the recent past, and it will stabilise near 25,000 to 40,000 in the next three to five years, the Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say said on Wednesday (Feb 8)

"We won't go back to the days of 100,000, 120,000 a year but slightly more towards maybe 25,000 to maybe 40,000 a year. So the number will stabilise at the new base," he was quoted as saying to media on the sideline of a job fair, Straits Times reported.

The ministry will focus on three areas to increase the quality of the job market of the island city, the Minister said.

the Professional Conversion Programme (PCP), a program to help match more experienced professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) and separately one for the non-PMETs — including rank-and-file and mature workers.

The PCP has facilitated conversion primarily for entry-level professionals in the past and the MOM is now working with the tripartite partners to strengthen the programme so that workers not just at the entry-level but also the mid-level could be converted to take on new jobs, the Minister said.

Singapore has a program to support the salaries of mid-level employees called Career Support Programme, but some employers have said they had concerns that the qualifying salaries were higher than what they could afford. They also want the duration of government wage subsidy to be increased from one year currently.

Minister Lim said the risk of jobseekers falling unfamiliar with where to seek jobs and what jobs to apply for and mismatches between jobs and skills would rise as the quality of jobs improves.
He, however, added that the government had helped more jobseekers overcome these problems in the past two years.

In 2016, it placed more than 15,000 jobseekers who faced "missed" matches into jobs, up from more than 14,000 in 2015. Over the same period, there were more than 4,000 placements for workers with job mismatches, up from about 3,000.

Singapore's seasonally adjusted jobless rate rose to 2.2% in the three months to December from 2.1% in the September quarter and in line with markets estimates, as preliminary estimates out on 26 Jan. It was the highest jobless rate since the December quarter of 2010.

Singapore job vacancies
Job vacancies chart for Singapore