SINGAPORE: Singapore’s resident labour force continued to see improvements in 2022, with the employment rate rising for the second consecutive year, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said in the advance release of its annual Labour Force in Singapore report on Thursday (Dec 1).
It found that the employment rate rose, incomes grew and a higher percentage of Singapore residents were working as professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) in 2022 as the country continued its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The broad-based improvement in resident labour force performance reflects the continued economic recovery and the gradual normalisation of business and social activities,” MOM said.
“Amid the evolving economic environment, we encourage employers and workers to make full use of government programmes to adapt and accelerate the pace of transformation.
“This will enable us to develop our workers and build a more competitive and resilient workforce, while ensuring that wage growth is sustainable and supported by productivity growth.”
EMPLOYMENT RATE UP, HIGHER SHARE OF RESIDENTS IN PMET ROLES
The employment rate for residents aged 15 and above rose for the second consecutive year to reach 67.5 per cent in 2022, MOM said. This is 2.3 per cent higher than the rate in 2019, before the pandemic.
The Manpower Ministry added that Singapore would rank third for overall employment rate amongst Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries.
Unemployment rates also fell for workers across occupations in 2022 compared to last year, MOM said.
Among PMETs, the unemployment rate fell from 3.4 per cent to 2.6 per cent. For non-PMETs, the unemployment rate fell from 5.1 per cent to 4.4 per cent.
MOM said that the long-term unemployment rate also decreased to around pre-pandemic levels for both PMETs and non-PMETs.
For PMETs, the rate fell from 0.8 per cent to 0.5 per cent, while non-PMETs saw a drop from 0.9 per cent to 0.7 per cent.
The ministry defines long-term unemployed individuals as those aged 15 and older who have been unemployed for 25 weeks or more.
MOM also found that a higher share of Singapore residents are now working in PMET roles.
“In terms of job profile, PMETs made up 64 per cent of all employed residents in 2022, an increase from 62 per cent in 2021,” it said.
“The higher share reflects a highly educated workforce and sustained employment growth in sectors such as information and communications, financial and insurance and professional services.”
MOM said that other indicators on labour underutilisation had also improved to pre-pandemic levels.
“The number and incidence of discouraged workers continued to decrease from 11,600 or 0.5 per cent of the resident labour force in 2021, to 8,900 or 0.4 per cent in 2022, reflecting a strong recovery from the height of the pandemic in 2020,” it said.
“Alongside improvements in job search outcomes, the resident time-related underemployment rate declined to pre-COVID levels, at 3.0 per cent in 2022.
“Most groups experienced improvements, including those who were more affected at the height of the pandemic – workers aged 60 and over as well as those with below secondary qualifications.”
Time-related underemployed individuals are those aged 15 and older who normally work less than 35 hours a week but are willing and available to engage in additional work.
With Singapore’s economic recovery, the scaling back of temporary jobs related to COVID-19 and the tight labour market, the proportion of employees in non-permanent employment also fell back to a pre-pandemic level of 11 per cent, MOM added.