Ms He Ting Ru asked the Minister for Trade and Industry (a) how has the large number of layoffs from tech firms in the last year affected Singapore’s plans to have and maintain a thriving and dynamic tech industry; and (b) what mitigation factors are being undertaken to ensure that this goal remains.
Mr Gan Kim Yong: The Information & Communications (I&C) sector is one of the fastest growing sectors in our economy, with its workforce growing by more than 40% in the last five years. Notwithstanding recent layoffs by some tech companies, there was strong hiring demand in the sector this year. There were 12,100 job vacancies in the I&C sector in June 2022, more than triple the 3,800 vacancies in June 2020. Most I&C workers have also been able to secure another job soon after retrenchment, with the rate of re-entry into employment within six months post-retrenchment for residents in Q2 2022 being higher than in the overall economy.
We have put in place measures to support retrenched workers. This includes interventions by the Taskforce for Responsible Retrenchment and Employment Facilitation (RTF) to offer career advisory and coaching services, and information kits on career resources to help affected workers transition to new jobs. The Minister for Manpower elaborated on these measures yesterday in his response to the Parliamentary Questions that have been filed on this matter. [Please refer to “Impact of Layoffs by Big Tech Companies and Support Available for Affected Employees”, Official Report, 28 November 2022, Vol 95, Issue 76, Oral Answers to Questions section.]
We continue to believe that the I&C sector is poised for growth. We will support this growth in a number of ways: (a) We will continue to build our domestic tech ecosystem by attracting tech companies, talent, and investments into Singapore, and investing in our local tech companies; (b) We will strengthen partnerships between MNCs and local SMEs and support their innovation activities strategically; (b) We will continue to invest in training and upskilling our tech workforce so they can take on these jobs and create new ones; and (d) We are also establishing forward-looking digital trade rules through Digital Economy Agreements (DEAs) to connect our tech ecosystem to the world.
The Government will continue to monitor global developments and ensure that our digital economy remains competitive and resilient.
Ministry of Trade and Industry
29 November 2022