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Oral Answer by Mr Lim Swee Say Minister for Manpower on Local PMETs Employment Growth



MP: Ms Foo Mee Har

To ask the Minister for Manpower whether he can provide an update on whether local PMETs have enhanced career opportunities as a result of various Government interventions.


Mr Speaker, may I have your permission to display some slides on the LED screens during my reply please.

1.To enhance career opportunities for our local PMETs, we have acted on four fronts: First, transforming our economy to be more innovative, productive and manpower-lean so that we can remain competitive and create enough good jobs for our people.

2.Second, strengthening lifelong learning through the SkillsFuture movement so as to enhance the employability of our local workforce throughout working life.Instead of relying on audits, the Standard spells out clearly verifiable actions that employers commit to undertake and relies on employers’ self-assessments of their ability to comply. If their employees experience any difficulty arising from non-compliance with the Standard, they can report to The Tripartite Alliance for Fair & Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP), which will contact the employer to clarify their practices or to change them, so as to meet the Standard.

3.Third, helping more local PMETs under the Adapt and Grow (A&G) initiative to adapt better to the rapid pace of technological change so that they can grow in their current careers or switch to new careers.

4.Last but not least, raising the qualifying criteria of Employment Pass and strengthening the Fair Consideration Framework (FCF) so as to improve the complementarity of local and foreign PMETs. 

5.Outcomes have been positive. Our economy has become more manpower lean, and our workforce more productive. Manpower growth has slowed from 4% in 2014 to 2% in 2015, to 1% last year. What is even more encouraging is that productivity growth has also improved to 1% last year, after remaining flat since 2012. With even higher productivity growth this year than last year, we are making steady progress towards our medium term growth strategy of 1% growth in manpower and

2% growth in productivity for a 3% growth in GDP.

6.The PMET share of the resident workforce has also improved in the last 3 years from 53.5% in 2014 to 56.1% in 2017. This is at a faster rate than the previous 3 years.

7.What is also worth noting is the higher share of nett PMET employment growth that went to our local PMETs. The three-year moving average has improved significantly over the last few years, from about 50% five years ago (1:1) to about 75% in the past three years (3:1).

8.Real median incomes (including employer CPF contributions) of full time employed residents have risen too by 4.3% per annum from 2014 to 2016, much higher than 2.4% per annum from 2011 to 2014.

9.Moving forward, there is still much to do to create more and better job opportunities for our local workforce. Unemployment and long term unemployment rates have risen, though marginally, in past two years. We need to first, bring total employment growth up to keep unemployment low; second, improve the quality of jobs to minimise underemployment; and third, minimise job-skills mismatches so as to prevent unemployment from becoming structural and sticky.

10.Our economic agencies and tripartite partners will continue to transform industries, from manufacturing, to services and construction. For example, Singaporeans can look forward to good jobs that harness technology in Artificial Intelligence in Infocom and Media, Data Analytics in Electronics manufacturing, Financial Technology (FinTech) in Finance and banking, and Pre-Fabrication Technology in Construction. More ITMs will be launched progressively in the coming months. Together, we aim to achieve and sustain nett employment growth of about 25,000 to 40,000 a year. This is lower than the high job growth of 120k a year 3 to 5 years ago, but higher than the low job growth of less than 10k (8.6k) last year.   

11.We will also continue to strengthen the SkillsFuture movement to equip our people with the skills needed for the future economy. For instance, MOE recently announced the SkillsFuture Series to provide working adults with industry-relevant skills in eight priority and emerging skills areas that draw reference from the ITMs.

12.MOM too, together with our tripartite partners, will press on with our A&G efforts to support more local PMETs of all ages from all industries to grow in their current careers or pursue new career opportunities in new and key growth sectors. We will also help speed up the transfer of advanced and emerging expertise from outside of Singapore to our local workforce through the newly launched Capability Transfer Programme.

13.Beyond these efforts of the Government and the tripartite partners, we need our local PMETs to be prepared to adapt and grow to stay relevant and seize new opportunities. Likewise, employers must also do their part to be inclusive and adopt fair and progressive hiring practices.

14.In this regard, I am encouraged that more local PMETs and more employers are making good use of A&G programmes. In the first half of this year, more than 1,500 local PMETs have undergone skills conversion through Professional Conversion Programmes (PCPs). This is more than double that in the same period last year. 

15.Likewise, in the first six months of 2017 alone, nearly 1,500 employers participated in A&G programmes such as the PCPs and P-MAX. This is about the same number for the whole of last year.

16.As a result, the number of local jobseekers who secured jobs successfully with the help of A&G initiatives has continued to increase, and remains inclusive.

17.In the first 8 months of this year, out of more than 16,000 successful job placements: More than half, 58% are PMETs. More than half, 53% >40 years old. Almost 30% (29%) are > 50 years old. And 30% were long term unemployed (i.e. found jobs after being unemployed for more than 6 months). This inclusive profile of job placement is indeed encouraging, and we will keep doing more, doing better for our local PMETs, and our local workforce.

18.Mr Speaker, with the strong commitment of individuals, employers and tripartite partners, we are confident that we can strive for healthy employment outcomes as we transform, adapt and grow together not just as an innovative economy but also as an inclusive workforce.