During the recent National Day Observance Ceremony, Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan Jin announced that Singapore needs to look out for professionals, managers and executives (PMEs) as they will be increasingly affected as the country shifts its economic gears.
Mr. Tan added that the city-state’s Employment Act is undergoing a second review to protect more workers as well as PMEs. He also stressed that job-matching services would become more vital to help displaced PMEs get back to work.
A recent blog titled “More Jobs, but Higher Unemployment & Layoffs in Q2 2013” by Singapore company registration specialist Rikvin shows that citizen unemployment has been on an uptrend over the past three quarters – rising to 3.1% in Q2 2013. This is due to Singapore’s restructuring efforts which compel businesses to become manpower-lean.
Nonetheless, employment creation remained robust in the quarter, says the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) in its Second Quarter 2013 Employment Situation report. Employment creation rose to 32,500 last quarter, surpassing that of Q1 2013 (28,900 jobs). More comprehensive information regarding this data will be released by MOM next month.
Analysis by Rikvin shows that the move to look out for PMEs is not new. Following MOM’s Labour Market 2011 report, which showed that 84,800 out of 122,600 jobs created during the year were filled by Singapore work visa holders, the Singapore government tightened foreign manpower controls in 2012. Measures included reducing the Dependency Ratio Ceilings (DRCs) in various industries and raising the bar for overseas professionals who wish to secure the Singapore work pass.
Although Singapore is slowing down its pace of growth to achieve a more sustainable and inclusive growth for its residents, it does not mean that Singapore is shutting its doors to highly-skilled foreign professionals or entrepreneurs to start a Singapore company.
As a result, foreign employment eased to 70,400 and local employment grew to 58,000 in 2012. Excluding construction and foreign domestic workers, foreign employment grew by 32,200 last year. Nonetheless, overseas workers made up 33.6% of the workforce last year, slightly up from 32.8% in 2011.
While the Singapore government asserted that there will be no regression of its manpower policies, it has introduced various initiatives such as the PIC Scheme, ICV and most recently, the “360 Productivity Framework” to help Singapore companies cope with the country’s economic restructuring. The current focus on resident PMEs is therefore part of this larger strategy.
Commenting further, Mr. Satish Bakhda, Head of Operations at Rikvin said, “Although Singapore is slowing down its pace of growth to achieve a more sustainable and inclusive growth for its residents, it does not mean that Singapore is shutting its doors to highly-skilled foreign professionals or entrepreneurs to start a Singapore company. Singapore is still in need of progressive companies that create quality jobs for residents and professionals who complement the resident workforce as well as meet the needs of the companies. However, it faces the challenge of attending to various stakeholders whose needs are all clamoring to be heard.”
“In any case, we support the move to update the legislation to better protect PMEs and anticipate that it will have a positive effect on the morale of resident professionals,” affirmed Mr. Bakhda.