Written Answer by Mrs Josephine Teo, Minister for Manpower, to PQ on Employment of Senior Workers
NOTICE PAPER NO. 1742 OF 2019 FOR THE SITTING ON 5 AUGUST 2019
QUESTION NO. 1315 FOR WRITTEN ANSWER
MP: GAN THIAM POH
To ask the Minister for Manpower (a) which is the industry or service sector that currently employs the most number of senior workers and what is their ratio against the total number of employees; and (b) what are the additional measures that the Ministry will adopt to encourage companies to retain their older workers before they consider applying for foreign workers.
- In 2018, the sector that employed the most number of residents aged 55 and over was Wholesale Trade (54,500), which includes businesses such as brand owners, distributors of other companies’ brands, trading arms of manufacturers and retailers, and large commodities trading houses. These workers accounted for 23% of all employed residents within the sector, which is similar to the overall proportion of employed residents of this age group (24%) in Singapore.
- To enhance the employability of senior workers, MOM has in place a number of measures, and these are also regularly reviewed. For instance, the Special Employment Credit (SEC), which has been extended till end 2020, provides wage offsets of up to 11% to employers that hire older Singaporeans aged 55 and above, earning up to $4,000 per month. Employers can also receive support of up to $300,000 per company under the WorkPro Job Redesign Grant to redesign jobs and workplaces to make them easier, safer and smarter for senior workers. Under the Adapt and Grow initiative, the Professional Conversion Programme and Career Support Programme provide higher levels of training and salary support to encourage employers to hire mature Singaporeans aged 40 and above.
- These pro-senior measures have encouraged and supported companies in hiring older Singaporeans. Over the years, our employment rates of senior workers or residents aged 55 to 64 years have improved significantly. It grew from 57% in 2008 to 67% in 2018, and ranks favourably compared to OECD countries.
- In addition, we are continuing to calibrate the foreign workforce policy to keep our labour market tight so as to ensure that Singaporeans, especially senior workers, continue to access good jobs and opportunities. We have cut the foreign worker Dependency Ratio Ceiling (DRC) and S Pass sub-DRC in the Services sector to 35% and 10% respectively by 2021. Last year, MOM also convened the Tripartite Workgroup on Older Workers to review retirement and re-employment ages. The Workgroup is finalising its recommendations; more details would be announced by September.