Parliament: Singapore's public sector workforce expected to grow 2.5% a year

SINGAPORE - The number of public servants here is expected to grow at a rate of 2.5 per cent annually over the next few years.

This is roughly similar to its rate of growth in the past 10 years, and lower than Singapore's labour force growth of 4.1 per cent a year over the same period, said Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam in a written answer to a question in Parliament on Monday.

The expansion of the public sector workforce is because agencies "need additional capacity to implement new strategic programmes", such as in healthcare services and security, added Mr Tharman.

He was responding to MP Seah Kian Peng (Marine Parade GRC), who asked about the expected rise in the number of civil servants in the near future.

At the same time, said Mr Tharman, the Government has "consistently strived to maintain a lean and efficient public service".

The public service, which includes ministries and statutory boards, had a total of 143,000 staff at the end of last year.

This is about 4 per cent of the country's labour force, or 6.5 per cent of its resident labour force, noted Mr Tharman.

Separately, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean disclosed that 94 per cent of eligible public servants who wished to continue working past the age of 62 were re-employed in 2013.

Only 64 public officers aged 62 were not re-employed that year, Mr Teo said in a written answer to a separate question by Mr Seah.

Mr Teo said that among the officers who had not been re-employed, about nine in 10 did not meet the qualifying criteria of having satisfactory work performance, good conduct and the medical fitness to continue working

He added that the public service has no target for its re-employment rate of public officers.

The re-employment rates of workers aged 65 - guidelines for which took effect this month - are not available yet, said Mr Teo.