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Although overall employment levels increased in Singapore last year, there was also a +10% rise in layoffs from the previous year. According to a new report by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), this reflected an economic slowdown and restructuring processes at companies.
In 2012, 5.8 workers per 1,000 employees were affected by redundancy. This was well below the recessionary high of 11 and 14 workers laid off for every 1,000 employees in 2008 and 2009 respectively.
Most of the workers laid off during the year were working in services and manufacturing sectors. Across sectors, professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) and production & related workers formed the bulk of all layoffs last year.
The report also found that restructuring of business processes for greater efficiency was the top reason cited for redundancy in 2012. This was followed by poor business and business failure not due to recession, reorganisation of businesses, high operating and labour cost as well as a downturn in the industry.
The ministry said that residents aged under 30 and those with lower educational levels were less vulnerable to layoffs as demand for low- and mid-level workers in 2012 remained high.
The rate of re-entry into employment declined slightly in 2012, but remained above recessionary highs seen in 2008 and 2009. By the end of the year, 68% of residents made redundant in the first nine months of 2012 found jobs, down slightly from 70% in 2011. This partly reflects the increase in layoffs of PMETs, who have a lower re-entry rate as they face competition from the growing supply of tertiary graduates.