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Written Answer by Mrs Josephine Teo Minister for Manpower to Parliamentary Question on women out of the labour force



NMP: Assoc Prof Walter Theseira

To ask the Minister for Manpower (a) what is the current number of women who are out of the labour force because of their caregiving duties to family or relatives; (b) what is the average period they remained out of the labour force; (c) when such women re-enter the labour force, what are their labour market outcomes, disaggregated by employment type, age, and industry; and (d) to what extent do such women experience changes in income relative to their pre-caregiving income or to their non-caregiving peers.


1. Based on MOM’s 2018 Comprehensive Labour Force Survey (CLFS), of the 543,500 female residents aged 25 and above who are not in the labour force, about two in three cited non-caregiving reasons such as retirement, poor health/disability/old age and housework. About one in four cited caregiving to families (including childcare) or relatives as the main reasons they are out of the labour force.

2. Those providing caregiving to families (excluding childcare) or relatives are generally older – 75% are aged 50 & above. Majority had work experience; the median length of time since they left their jobs was 9 years. Vast majority of those who are providing childcare are aged between 30 and 49. Most had prior work experience; the median length of time they have not been working was 5 years.

3. As survey respondents are different each year, the CLFS does not track the subsequent labour market outcomes of those who re-enter the labour force. To support the return of females back into the labour force, the Adapt and Grow initiative by Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and Workforce Singapore (WSG) offers a suite of job matching services and programmes to help jobseekers overcome mismatches in skills, wages or job expectations. One of the programmes is Career Trial, which provides opportunities for jobseekers to try out jobs and assess new careers. This year, we are enhancing Career Trial to include part-time jobs. This will benefit women who are considering part-time jobs, in particular those with caregiving responsibilities.