Singapore Budget 2015: Labour market to tighten sharply as workforce growth slows: Tan Chuan-Jin

SINGAPORE - The labour market will tighten significantly in the future as growth of the local workforce slows dramatically, said Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin in Parliament on Monday.

Speaking during the debate over the Manpower Ministry's budget, Mr Tan said that local employment growth will drop to about 20,000 per year in the last part of this decade. This is a dramatic slowdown from the workforce growth of 95,000 last year (2014).

The slowdown is due to the baby-boomers gradually exiting the workforce, while the younger cohorts entering the workforce are of smaller size due to lower birth rates.

The Government will keep the foreign workforce growth at its current pace, he made clear. Since 2010, it has curbed the intake of foreign labour: last year (2014), the foreign workforce grew by 26,000, down from 80,000 in 2011.

"Taken together with the slowdown on local workforce growth, companies must note that we will experience a significant tightening of the labour market going forward," said Mr Tan.

"If businesses do not become more manpower-lean, they will have great difficulty in finding enough manpower - whether local or foreign - to run their operations," he cautioned.

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