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Written Answer by Mrs Josephine Teo, Minister for Manpower, to Parliamentary Question on Measures to Reduce Unemployment among PMETs

NOTICE PAPER NO. 1888 FOR THE SITTING ON 5 NOVEMBER 2019
QUESTION NO. 3297 FOR WRITTEN ANSWER

MP: Mr Leon Perera

To ask the Minister for Manpower whether the Government is reviewing the causes for the rising unemployment rate among PMETs and what measures are being considered to reduce it.

Answer

  1. The unemployment rate of resident PMETs, which is released annually, fell from 3.1% in 2016 to 2.9% in 2018. The 2019 PMET unemployment rate is not yet available.

  2. However, latest available data suggest that there are still job opportunities for PMETs. As at June 2019, there were over 28,000 PMET job vacancies.Total employment grew by 22,400 in the third quarter of 2019, largely in Community, Social & Personal Services, Professional Services and Information & Communications, sectors where PMETs make up the majority of their workforce.From January to August 2019, Workforce Singapore (WSG) and its partners placed 11,700 PMETs through the Adapt & Grow (A&G) initiative.

  3. Nonetheless, there are PMET segments we are monitoring closely, such as mature PMET jobseekers, and those who are long-term unemployed. These groups may face greater challenges entering new jobs due to more cautious hiring and mismatches in wage expectations or skills.

  4. Under the A&G initiative, WSG provides a range of programmes to address such mismatches. For example, the Career Support Programme (CSP) provides salary support to employers who hire long-term unemployed or mature retrenched PMETs. There are currently over 100 Professional Conversion Programmes (PCPs) which provide employers with training and salary support to re-skill and hire mid-career local jobseekers. These programmes provide higher support to mature or long-term unemployed jobseekers.

  5. WSG is working closely with economic agencies and companies to increase capacity for PCPs as well as to pre-emptively retrain workers at risk of retrenchment so that they can take on new jobs within their companies.