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Redundancy and Re-Entry Into Employment, 2011

26 April 2012

  1. Amid more moderate economic growth, layoffs of workers increased slightly in 2011, pulled up by a rise in the fourth quarter of the year. Against a larger employment base, the overall incidence of redundancy in 2011 continued to decline to a new low. Meanwhile, the rate of re-entry into employment improved for the second successive year. These are the key findings from the “Redundancy And Re-entry Into Employment, 2011” report released by the Ministry of Manpower’s Research and Statistics Department.
  2. In the whole of 2011, some 9,990 workers were made redundant, up slightly from 9,800 in 2010.1 This translated to 5.5 workers made redundant for every 1,000 employees in 2011, down from 5.7 in 2010.
  3. Workers from the manufacturing sector remained the most vulnerable to redundancy, with 11 workers made redundant for every 1,000 in 2011. This was significantly more than in services (3.8 per 1,000) and construction (4.2 per 1,000). With a decline in layoffs in construction from 1,350 in 2010 to 1,050 in 2011, its share of redundancy fell from 14% to 11%. Manufacturing’s share dipped slightly from 46% to 45%, with a marginal decline in workers affected from 4,490 to 4,460. Reflecting their growing share of the workforce, layoffs in services increased from 3,960 or 40% of workers made redundant in 2010 to 4,430 or 44% in 2011.
  4. Layoffs fell for clerical, sales & service and production & related workers but rose for professionals, managers, executives & technicians (PMETs). While the share of redundancy taken by production & related workers declined from 50% to 48% over the year, they were still the highest among the three broad occupational groups. They remained more vulnerable with 7.3 workers made redundant among every 1,000 workers, compared with 5.5 among PMETs and 2.6 among clerical, sales & service workers. PMETs accounted for 42% or 4,170 of the workers displaced, while the remaining 11% or 1,080 were clerical, sales & service workers.
  5. While layoffs increased slightly over the year for both residents and non-residents, the increase was smaller for residents (1.3%) than non-residents (2.9%). Consequently, the residents’ share of redundancy fell over the year by 0.4%-point to 57.4% in 2011. This was lower than the residents’ share of the workforce2 at 67.2% in 2011.
  6. Restructuring of business processes for greater efficiency (34%) and high labour cost (30%) were the top two reasons for redundancy. They were followed by reorganisation of businesses and high operating cost excluding labour cost (each around 25%). Reflecting the slowing economic growth, the share of workers made redundant due to downturn in the industry increased to 19% in 2011 from 17% in 2010.
  7. Re-entry into employment has improved. Seven in ten (70%) residents made redundant in the first three quarters of 2011 re-entered employment by December 2011 (i.e. within 12 months of redundancy), up from 66% experienced by the previous cohort in 2010 and 65% for the 2009 cohort. The average (mean) time taken to secure re-entry into employment was 2.1 months, same as the 2010 cohort, after declining from the 2.7 months for the 2009 cohort during the recession. The younger as well as those laid off from clerical, sales & service jobs took the shortest time to secure employment.

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  8. The report is available online on the Ministry of Manpower’s Statistics and Publications webpage. It goes beyond the quarterly reporting to provide additional analysis on the incidence of redundancy, breakdown of workers affected by residential status, reasons for redundancy, profile of establishments with redundancy, time taken to secure re-entry into employment and the shift in industry among those who re-entered employment.

1Data pertain to private sector establishments each with at least 5 employees and the public sector.

2Excluding foreign domestic workers.