Parliament: Total employment in 23 key industries grew between 2015 and 2018

Total factor productivity here increased 0.5 per cent per annum or 12 per cent of economic growth between 2008 and 2018. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Total employment in Singapore's 23 key industries where industry transformation maps (ITMs) have been launched grew by 19,500 between 2015 and 2018, Minister of State for Manpower Zaqy Mohamad told Parliament on Monday (Jan 6).

The figures accounted for a rise in employment among Singapore citizens and permanent residents (PRs), as well as a 28,500 decrease in the number of foreign workers, he noted.

The ITMs were launched progressively from late-2016, with the majority launched in 2018.

Responding to a question from Workers' Party chief Pritam Singh (Aljunied GRC) on details on the number of new jobs filled by Singaporeans, PRs and foreigners for each industry covered by ITMs, Mr Zaqy said it would be more meaningful to look at employment outcomes over the medium to long term, as the changes in workforce profile depend on a variety of factors which can be structural or cyclical in nature.

Singaporeans have consistently worked hard to update their skills and stay relevant, he said, noting that the training participation rate of the resident labour force aged between 15 and 64 increased from 35 per cent to 48 per cent.

Around 93,000 locals have also moved into new jobs through the Adapt & Grow initiative from 2016 to September 2019, Mr Zaqy added.

Responding to a question from labour MP Patrick Tay (West Coast GRC) about levelling the employment playing field, he said that it is the combination of small efforts on the ground, such as those to upgrade workers and put in place infrastructure to ensure that workers are trained to address new jobs, which contribute to overall outcomes.

On Mr Tay's question as to whether the Ministry of Manpower is reviewing measures to monitor recalcitrant companies which flout the Fair Consideration Framework, Mr Zaqy said more details would be announced next week.

Singapore's productivity performance was stronger than or comparable to most Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries between 2008 and 2018, Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing said on Monday.

Total factor productivity (TFP) here increased 0.5 per cent per annum or 12 per cent of economic growth between 2008 to 2018, similar to that for Germany and the United States, and higher than France's 0.3 per cent uptick over the same period.

TFP measures economic efficiency and innovation.

In reply to WP Non-Constituency MP Leon Perera's question on the contribution of TFP to economic growth in the past 10 years and how Singapore's productivity compares to other countries, Mr Chan noted that Singapore's productivity growth had picked up in recent years - productivity growth in Singapore had increased to 0.9 per cent per annum or 27 per cent of economic growth since 2016.

This increase was due to economic restructuring efforts and upskilling initiatives, he added.

Mr Chan also said that Singapore is aware that for it to improve its productivity, it needs to emphasise the translation of research and development (R&D) outcomes into commercial enterprises and not just R&D for its own sake.

Replying to further questions from Mr Perera, Mr Chan said that continuous training must be in Singapore's DNA, which would enable us to "get into lifelong employability and not lifelong employment".

More plans to tackle employment training will be announced in the Budget, which will be delivered in February, he added.

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