Better jobs going to Singaporeans: MOM

Better jobs going to Singaporeans: MOM




THE better jobs have gone to Singaporeans, but more of the new jobs created are being snapped up by foreigners because there are fewer locals taking them up, according to two new studies by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM).


‘The vast majority (95 per cent) of jobs gained by Singapore citizens from 1997 to 2007 went to professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs), mostly paying above the median income,’ says a report called ‘Quality of Employment Creation for Singapore Citizens’.


The median monthly income is $2,330.


The share has come down in recent years, with 64 per cent of the record job gains in 2004-2007 going to PMETs.


‘With the lowest unemployment in 10 years and employment at an all-time high, the number of available Singapore citizens to take up new jobs over the next few years will shrink,’ MOM said in a statement yesterday.


This is already happening.


Singaporeans still made up the majority of the 2.5 million working people here in December 2006, but their share had fallen from 64 per cent in 1997 to 60 per cent, according to a report entitled ‘Employment of Singapore Citizens, Permanent Residents and Foreigners, 1997 to 2006’.


Breaking down the workforce data shows that as more foreigners take up permanent residence in Singapore – thanks to the effort to attract global talent – the number of PRs working here jumped 8.4 per cent a year from December 1997 to December 2006.


‘This was significantly higher than the annualised growth of 1.5 per cent for Singapore citizens and 2.3 per cent for foreigners over the same period,’ the report says.


The result: PRs’ share of employment increased from 5.7 per cent in December 1997 to 9.7 per cent in December 2006. The share of foreigners was largely unchanged at 30 per cent.


Still, employment of Singaporeans hit an all-time high of 64,600 in 2006, exceeding the gains of 45,000 in 2005 and 32,000 in 2004.


The bulk of the jobs came from the services sector, which provided 84 per cent of the job gains for Singaporeans in 2006. Thus, there is a higher concentration of Singaporeans in that sector – seven in 10 in December 2006.


In manufacturing, the Singaporean proportion was 44 per cent, down from 52 per cent in December 2001. The share of Singaporeans in construction jobs was 31 per cent.


For the three years from 2004 to 2006, a total of 360,700 jobs were created. Of these, 141,700 went to Singaporeans, 62,500 to PRs and the remaining 156,500 to foreigners.


‘Given the limits to growth in our indigenous workforce and the larger base of jobs created, the proportion of employment gains going to citizens dropped from 45 per cent in 2004 to 40 per cent in 2005 and to 37 per cent in 2006, even though the absolute gains in employment taken up by the citizens increased over the period,’ the report says.


Going forward – because of slower growth in the Singaporean work force due to falling fertility and ageing – the share of job gains for Singaporeans is likely to drop further, if the economy continues to grow strongly.


But with the better jobs going to them, PMETs as a share in the Singaporean workforce have grown to 45 per cent, from 39 per cent a decade ago. The Singaporean share of production and related workers fell from 31 per cent to 28 per cent. Singaporean clerical, sales and service workers also declined, from 30 per cent to 27 per cent.


Source: Business Times

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