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More workers laid off in 2014 amid restructuring

The rise in redundancies was due to more non-residents being laid off, even as fewer residents were made redundant, says the Ministry of Manpower.

SINGAPORE: More people were laid off in Singapore last year, due to a rise in redundancies among non-residents, according to data released by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) on Thursday (Apr 23).

In 2014, 12,930 workers were laid off, up from 11,560 in 2013. In other words, 6.3 workers were made redundant for every 1,000 employees, the report said.

However, fewer citizens and Permanent Residents were made redundant last year – 7,240 were laid off last year, as compared to 7,520 in 2013. 

The increase in redundancies was mainly from the services sector, said MOM. Layoffs in the construction sector also went up, amid a decline in private sector construction output.

The manufacturing sector, a key pillar of Singapore's economy, contributed less of a share to redundancies in 2014. But experts said this sector should still be closely watched, especially if more firms relocate their activities overseas.

Professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) formed 51 per cent of the layoffs last year, as compared to 56 per cent in 2013. The likelihood of redundancy among PMETs remained higher than clerical, sales and service workers, and production and related workers.

The top reasons cited by firms for the redundancies were restructuring, re-organisation and poor business. Human resource experts said this is typical of what firms in an economy in transition will experience. 

"We are seeing a very strong business economy right now. We are seeing jobs are created, we are seeing the human resources departments in companies still recruiting rapidly. They've got a lot of people they need to bring in, and it's generally a very good market for job seekers," said Mr Ian Grundy, Head of Marketing and Communications Asia at Adecco Personnel.

Mr Erman Tan, President of the Singapore Human Resources Institute said there will be a certain level of layoffs in various industries.

"But we really encourage the workforce to keep a very open mindset and to ensure that they continue to pick up new skills; to have a lifelong learning attitude just to ensure that they have skills sets that are always relevant to the marketplace," he added.

WORKERS FIND NEW JOBS MORE QUICKLY

Residents who were made redundant found replacement jobs more quickly last year, according to the report. The rate of re-entry into employment within six months of being laid off rose for the third consecutive quarter to 59 per cent in Dec 2014, said MOM.

Additionally, 68 per cent of residents who were laid off in the first three quarters of 2014 found jobs by December in the same year. This is compared to 66 per cent of the previous cohort.

About half of those who were laid off found new jobs within a month, and 68 per cent found work in a different industry, the data revealed.