The latest data by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) reflects many improvements in the labor market of Singapore and to add on to it the positive labor market outcomes this year were coupled with good economic growth. While on hand the unemployment rates dipped and income of professionals grew, on the other Singapore's economy is expected to grow by 3 per cent to 3.5 per cent this year, at the upper end of an earlier forecast range of 2.5 per cent to 3.5 per cent.
In the last five years the real median gross monthly income of residents in full-time jobs grew by an average of 3.5 percent per year, taking preliminary inflation figures into account for this year. It grew by an average of 1.9 percent per year from 2008 to 2013. The median income was S$4,437 this year, including employer contributions to the Central Provident Fund, up from S$4,232 last year.
Further, the unemployment rates for resident workers, both professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs), as well as for non-PMETs, also dipped slightly as of June this year, compared with June last year.
The professionals, managers, executives and technicians now make up 57 per cent of the resident workforce. Their unemployment rate was 2.9 per cent in June, compared to 3 percent a year earlier. For non-PMETs, the rate was down by 0.5 percent to 4 percent.
The employment rate for residents aged 15 to 24 increased to 34.5 per cent this year, up from 34.1 per cent last year, as more young people took on paid internships or vacation jobs. Even the rate for those aged 65 and over rose to 26.8 per cent, up from 25.8 per cent.
Another interesting trend that was highlighted with MOMs report was the increase in freelance and contractual jobs. In 2018, a larger share of workers were on contract jobs, as the percentage of workers in permanent jobs went down for the second consecutive year to 89 per cent this year, from 90 per cent last year.
The increasing trend of gig economy can be attributed to the ongoing economic restructuring which has prompted companies to adopt a more near-term outlook and hire employees on contract.
The positive revelations made by Ministry of Manpower brings good news for both employers and employees, including the ones who would be entering the labor market next year. With increased employment among young workforce and the trend of hiring freelancers and contract workers gaining popularity, Singapore’s workforce has a lot of opportunities to tap onto.