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Singapore Citizens in the Labour Force


  1. Employment outcomes of Singapore citizens have been positive over the decade. As Singapore citizens consistently make up the majority of the resident labour force, their trends track closely to those of resident data. Employment rate of Singapore citizens has risen, driven most consistently by older citizens. The number and share of professionals, managers, executives & technicians (PMETs) among employed Singapore citizens have increased steadily over the decade. Mirroring the resident trends, income growth among Singapore citizens was faster in the recent five years compared with the earlier five years. These are the key findings of an occasional paper by the Manpower Research and Statistics Department.

    Main Findings

  2. Singapore citizens consistently formed about 85% of the resident labour force.As a result, their labour market trends track closely to those of resident data.

  3. The increase in employment rate of Singapore citizens over the last decade (from 60.0% in June 2009 to 63.6% in June 2019) was driven most consistently by those aged 65 & over. This reflected efforts to raise the employability of older workers.The employment rate for those aged 25 to 64 rose faster in the earlier part of the decade, but has since slowed as more in this age group became older. The employment rate among citizens aged 15 to 24 declined in recent years because more were engaged in further studies.

  4. The number and share of professionals, managers, executives & technicians (PMETs) among employed Singapore citizens have increased steadily from 742,800 (47%) in June 2009 to 1,050,300 (56%) in June 2019.

  5. Mirroring the resident trend, Singapore citizens continued to earn higher incomes in the recent five years. The real median income growth for full-time employed Singapore citizens from June 2014 to June 2019 (3.9% p.a.p) was also faster than the growth from June 2009 to June 2014 (2.1% p.a.). Real income growth at the 20th percentile was also faster in the recent five years (4.6% p.a.P) than the earlier five years (1.5% p.a.).

  6. The Singapore citizen unemployment rate (seasonally adjusted) has been broadly stable, averaging 3.1% from 2010 to 2019 (June periods). It was 3.2% in June 2019, slightly higher than the 3.1% for all residents. This is to be expected because employability is often a key consideration for granting of permanent residency.

  7. Tracking closely trends for residents, the number of discouraged workers who were Singapore citizens has been broadly stable for the most part of the decade. It has declined in the past three years to 6,700 in June 2019, making up just 0.3% of the citizen labour force.1


  8. Under the Adapt & Grow (A&G) initiative, Workforce Singapore (WSG) and NTUC’s Employment and Employability Institute (NTUC’s e2i) offer employment facilitation services such as career coaching, employability workshops, job fairs and job matching.

  9. Employers and jobseekers can tap on A&G programmes for employment support. For example, the Career Support Programme (CSP) provides salary support to employers who hire Singapore Citizen PMETs who are long-term unemployed or mature and retrenched. Jobseekers who wish to re-skill for new job opportunities can also explore about 100 Professional Conversion Programmes (PCPs) in more than 30 sectors. The PCPs provide training and salary support, with higher funding for those aged 40 and above. From January to September 2019, about 24,000 jobseekers found jobs through the A&G initiative, of whom over 13,000 were aged 40 and above.

    For More Information

  10.  The occasional paper is available online on the Ministry of Manpower’s statistics website at


  1. Preliminary as full year CPI data for 2019 is not available yet.
  2. Inclusive of discouraged workers.