Singapore Citizens Employment Rate Rising Over Last Decade: MOM Report

SINGAPORE: Aided by efforts to increase the employability of older workers, the employment rate of Singapore citizens increased from 60% in June 2009 to 63.6% in June 2019.

Singaporeans also saw income growth over the same period, while more worked as professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs), according to an occasional article published by the Manpower Research and Statistics Department on Thursday (January 23). ) who tracked the results of the job. of Singapore citizens over the past decade.

The increase in the employment rate of citizens was led by workers aged 65 and over, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said, reflecting efforts to increase the employability of these workers. aged.

The employment rate of people in this age group increased from 16.4% in 2009 to 27.4% in 2019.

For those aged 25 to 64, the employment rate for Singaporean citizens rose from 75.6% to 80.5% over the same period. Growth in the employment rate was faster at the start of the decade and has since slowed as more people in this age group got older, MOM said.

Among those aged 15 to 24, the employment rate has declined in recent years as more people have participated in other studies, the document added.

By occupation, the number and share of PMETs among employed Singaporean citizens has steadily increased from 742,800 in June 2009 to 1,050,300 in June 2019, resulting in an increase from 47% to 56%.

Singaporeans have also enjoyed higher incomes, with a faster pace of income growth over the past five years.

From 2014 to 2019, the real growth in median income of Singaporean citizens employed full time was 3.9% per year. This is faster than the 2.1 percent per year growth observed between 2009 and 2014.

People in the lowest 20% income group also saw their real income growth accelerate more rapidly from 2014 to 2019 – to 4.6% per year, compared to 1.5% per year in the last few years. first five years of the decade.

This was helped by collective policy measures, such as the progressive salary model and the salary credit, the MOM document said.


Among Singapore citizens, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate has been “largely stable” at an average of 3.1% from June 2010 to June 2019, MOM said.

The unemployment rate refers to the unemployed as a proportion of the labor force. It excludes those who are not looking for work or are not available for work, such as students, housewives and retirees.

According to the study, the unemployment rate for citizens of most age groups was below average, with the exception of those under 30, which stood at 6.2%.

It boils down to job hunting among young citizens, who are new entrants to the job market or are in the early stages of their careers and are exploring different career options, MOM said.

On the other hand, while citizens aged 50 and over may have a lower than average unemployment rate, they tend to stay unemployed longer. The median duration of unemployment for this age group was 12 weeks in June 2019, compared to 8 weeks for all unemployed citizens.

By education, people without higher education and professional qualifications recorded above-average unemployment rates, the MOM document noted. This is due to a higher proportion of young citizens in these education groups.

The number of discouraged workers, defined as those who are not in the labor force because they believe their job search would not yield results, has also been “broadly stable” for most of the decade. , MOM said.

It has declined over the past three years to 6,700 in June 2019, representing only 0.3% of the active citizen population.

Overall, “the employment outcomes for Singapore citizens have been positive over the decade,” MOM said.

In response to the document, Deputy General Secretary of the National Trade Union Congress, Patrick Tay, wrote in a Facebook post that it is important to continue to help mature workers, PMETs, as well as to focus on retraining and further training. -qualified workers.

Employers and employees will need to be prepared with the skills they are looking for in order to remain relevant to the new jobs created and resilient amid the peaks and troughs of the economy, he said.


The occasional paper also included data on the labor force of the resident population, which refers to both Singapore citizens and permanent residents (PRs).

Singapore citizens consistently form the majority – around 85 percent – of the resident workforce. The PR population has also remained stable over time at around 0.5 million, MOM said.

Considering these two factors, labor market trends for Singaporean citizens “closely track” those of residents’ data, he added.

Charts included in the MOM paper showed employment and unemployment rates, as well as income growth, of Singapore citizens reflecting trends in resident data.

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