Singapore's employment 'least imperfect', but economic transition necessary: Lim Swee Say

Office workers in Singapore's Central Business District (CBD).
Office workers in Singapore's Central Business District (CBD). PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Singapore's employment situation may be among "the least imperfect in the world", said Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say on Tuesday.

However, a volatile global economy demands a transition to more manpower-lean industries with a stronger core of local talent and better quality of foreign labour, he added.

Speaking at the ministry's National Day Observance Ceremony at the Lifelong Learning Institute, he noted Singapore's employment rate of 79.7 per cent - the second highest in the world after Japan - and its low unemployment rate of 2 per cent.

He stressed, however, the need for continued changes to workplaces here, such as making them more age-friendly for mature workers, and more pro-family, so that employees can care for their young children or aged parents.

He also called for enhanced support for those who are self-employed and freelancers, to "progress as part of our inclusive workforce".

Said Mr Lim: "The more we have today, the more we stand to lose tomorrow if we are not good enough and fast enough."

oliviaho@sph.com.sg