Mr Gerald Giam Yean Song asked the Minister for Manpower of the 75,900 new jobs created in Q3 2022 where 71,100 went to non-residents (a) how many of the non-residents are employed under (i) Employment Passes (ii) S Passes and (iii) work permits or other passes; (b) whether the Minister expects most new jobs created to go to non-residents over the next four quarters; and (c) what steps is the Ministry taking to enable more Singaporeans to take up these newly created jobs.
Dr Tan See Leng: The increase of 71,100 in non-resident employment in Q3 2022 was attributed to an increase of 11,300 Employment Pass holders, 5,900 S Pass holders and 53,900 holders of Work Permits or other passes.
Resident employment has expanded each year since COVID-19 whereas non-resident employment declined and registered a very sharp drop in 2020 and 2021, and reached a trough of 211,000 below pre-COVID-19 levels in December 2021. Hence, not surprisingly, with the relaxation of border restrictions in April 2022, non-resident employment has increased more quickly as employers backfilled their positions. Overall, non-resident employment has increased by 167,000 from December 2021 to September 2022, but is still 3.9% (44,000) below its pre-COVID level. Non-resident employment growth in the last two quarters was concentrated in Manufacturing and Construction, sectors which are more reliant on non-resident workers. The resumption of construction work that was backlogged due to the pandemic would continue to generate demand for non-resident workers.
On the other hand, resident employment is 4.4% above the 2019 level. Significantly, more residents took on jobs in outward-oriented sectors such as Financial and Insurance Services, Information and Communications, Professional Services, as well as in Accommodation, and the median income of full-time employed residents has grown from $4,100 in 2016 to $4,700 in 2021, an increase of 2.1% per annum in real terms. We are in a tight labour market situation, with most unemployment being frictional unemployment. Our resident unemployment rate and resident long-term unemployment rate have recovered to their pre-COVID averages (2.8% and 0.7% respectively). Labour market tightness eased slightly in the third quarter, but the ratio of job vacancies to unemployed persons remained at 2.2, with the bulk of the job vacancies in Manufacturing and Construction, and also in services industries such as Information and Communications and Financial and Insurance Services. As such, I expect total employment to continue growing, but more moderately for residents given the low resident unemployment rate.
The strong employment outcomes for Singaporeans did not happen by chance, but as a result of the concerted efforts of the Government and tripartite partners through the National Jobs Council (NJC), which contributed to creating traineeships and attachments to help jobseekers gain industry-relevant skills and boost employability. From April 2020 to April 2022, around 200,000 locals were placed into jobs, traineeships and attachment opportunities under the NJC’s SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package. Workforce Singapore (WSG) will continue to support jobseekers to enter new jobs, such as through Career Conversion Programmes (CCPs) and the SGUnited Mid-Career Pathways Programme which we regularised this year. In 2021, WSG and its placement partners placed about 68,000 unique jobseekers, including about 5,000 through CCPs. Locals who need greater assistance in their job search can approach WSG or NTUC’s Employment and Employability Institute.
Ministry of Manpower
9 January 2023