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Singapore Workforce, 2014

Employment Rate Rose to New High, Sustained Rise in Incomes

28 November 2014

  1. The employment rate rose to a new high, as more women and older residents were in the labour force amid a tight labour market and low unemployment. There was sustained growth in incomes in the recent five years, with the income growth of lower income earners keeping pace with that at the middle. These are the key findings from the "Singapore Workforce, 2014" report by the Ministry of Manpower’s Research and Statistics Department, based on data from the Comprehensive Labour Force Survey conducted in mid 2014.

    Main Findings

    Resident Labour Force Participation Rate Rose for the Third Successive Year
  2. The resident labour force participation rate rose for the third successive year to a new high of 67.0% in 2014, driven by continued increases for women and older residents. Reflecting on-going initiatives for better work-life integration, the participation rate for females rose from 51.3% in 2004 to 58.6% in 2014. Over the same period, the labour force participation rate for older residents aged 55 to 64 rose from 49.5% to 68.4%, reflecting tripartite efforts to enhance the employability of older workers. Similarly, the participation rate for residents aged 65 to 69 trended upwards from 18.9% in 2004 to 41.2% in 2014.

    Employment Rate Rose to New High
  3. As labour force participation rose and the labour market stayed tight with low unemployment, the employment rate of residents aged 25 to 64 rose to a new high of 79.7% in 2014, up from 79.0% in 2013 and 72.3% in 2004. The employment rate of women in their prime-working ages of 25 to 54 rose from 74.3% in 2013 to a record 76.0% in 2014. Older residents aged 55 to 64 posted further increases in employment rate, reaching a new high of 66.3% in 2014 from 65.0% in 2013.

    Sustained Rise in Real Incomes
  4. The nominal median monthly income from work of full-time employed residents (including employer CPF contributions) increased over the year by 1.8% to $3,770 in June 2014, compared to 6.5% in June 2013. After adjusting for inflation using the Consumer Price Index for all items, the real median income grew by 0.4%P in 2014, following exceptionally high increases1 of 4.0% in 2013.
  5. There was a sustained rise in median income over the recent five years, even though growth varied from one year to another. The median income (including employer CPF contributions) of full-time employed residents rose by 29% or 5.2% p.a. in nominal terms from 2009 to 2014, slightly higher than the 26% or 4.7% p.a. from 2004 to 2009. Weighed down by higher inflation in the recent five years, real median income growth of 9.7%P or 1.9% p.a.P from 2009 to 2014 was lower than the gains of 13% or 2.5% p.a. from 2004 to 2009.
  6. Boosted by on-going initiatives to raise the incomes of low-wage workers, real income growth at the 20th percentile not only kept pace with the median income growth in the recent five years, but was also higher than the previous five years. Income (including employer CPF contributions) at the 20th percentile of full-time employed residents rose by 31% from $1,500 in 2009 to $1,972 in 2014 in nominal terms, or 5.6% p.a. The increase after adjusting for inflation was 12%P or 2.3% p.a.P from 2009 to 2014, higher than the gains of 3.4% or 0.7% p.a. from 2004 to 2009.

    For More Information
  7. The "Singapore Workforce, 2014" report is available on the Ministry of Manpower’s Statistics and Publications webpage. A full report of the survey findings will be published in the "Labour Force in Singapore, 2014" report on 30 January 2015.

P preliminary
1 Income growth was higher than average in 2013, partly pulled up by the initial effect of the Wage Credit Scheme launched in 2013 which could have encouraged employers to give bigger wage increments.