2 in 5 workers retrenched in Q1 found jobs by June despite economic slowdown: MOM

The survey found that 39 per cent of retrenched workers were able to find jobs by June this year.
The survey found that 39 per cent of retrenched workers were able to find jobs by June this year.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Companies continued to hire during the second quarter of this year, although at a slower pace, despite the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the economy, according to a survey by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM).

Despite weaker hiring sentiments, retrenched workers were able to find jobs and they did not experience sizeable pay cuts, Manpower Minister Josephine Teo said on Monday (Sept 7) during her weekly jobs situation report.

The survey of 2,160 Singaporeans and permanent residents retrenched in the first quarter of this year was conducted by MOM in June.

It found that 39 per cent of these workers were able to find jobs by June this year - slightly lower than that in the same period in 2018, where 47 per cent of workers retrenched in the first quarter found jobs by June that year.

“It was a drop, but it didn’t fall off the cliff,” said Mrs Teo, who was speaking at Marina Bay Sands during a press conference that was also attended by Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing. 

“We’re continuing to monitor this group of workers to see what happens next. But basically, the point to keep in mind is that even in good times, which 2018 was, it does take a while for retrenched workers to get back into employment.” 

Of those who found jobs by June this year, 60 per cent did not take a pay cut of more than 5 per cent, and about half, or 53 per cent, switched to a different industry.

Seven in 10 of them also found a job within a month.

MOM added that professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) and those in their 30s and 40s were more likely to have found jobs, but did not give further details.

Last month, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat announced a new $1 billion Jobs Growth Incentive (JGI) scheme to boost hiring of locals, on top of the existing Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) which provides wage support to companies.

"However, we recognise that despite companies' best efforts and the coverage from JSS and JGI, some employers may still need to make adjustments to their businesses to stay viable, including conducting retrenchments," said MOM on Monday.

"The Government will take active steps to ensure that workers who faced displacements would be able to find alternative employment and get back on their feet quickly."


So far, more than 1,400 workers from more than 100 hotels and tourism companies have been, or are being, retrained and redeployed to new roles, said MOM.

This is under two reskilling programmes for the tourism sector by Workforce Singapore (WSG) which were rolled out in February as part of Covid-19 support measures.


The programmes are Job Redesign Reskilling Programme for the Hotel Industry, and the Digital Marketing Reskilling Programme for Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, Exhibitions (Mice), Attractions and Tour and Travel Sectors.

Employers have also tapped on the Enhanced Training Support Package to reskill their workforce, with about 28,000 training placed filled.

Since April, more than 2,400 job, traineeship, company attachment and training opportunities have been made available by more than 220 companies under SGUnited Jobs and Skills programmes.

About 41 per cent of the jobs, traineeships and company attachments are in PMET roles, such as conference and event planners, system analysts and marketing sales executives, with many of them being longer-term roles, said MOM.

Between April and July, more than 900 workers found jobs or took on new roles in tourism through WSG programmes.

About 87 per cent being mid-career individuals who participated in career conversion programmes. Of which, about half were aged 40 and above.


Fresh and recent graduates as well as mid-career job seekers who lack relevant experience or skills but are looking to join the tourism sector can tap the traineeships or company attachments under the SGUnited Traineeships and SGUnited Mid-Career Pathways Programmes.

These include training for roles such as events organiser or planner, concierge, housekeeping supervisor and guest services supervisor or executive, or in areas such as digital marketing, social media marketing and business analytics.

Last month, WSG conducted 50 outreach and engagement activities across Singapore, reaching out to 12,200 job seekers.