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Jobs Situation Report (7 Sep)

Job prospects holding up for retrenched workers. New Jobs Growth Incentive to boost hiring of locals.

  1. To better monitor the labour market situation and understand the needs of retrenched workers, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM)’s Manpower Research and Statistics Department conducted a survey in June 2020 with residents retrenched in the first quarter of 2020 (1Q 2020). This week’s Jobs Situation Report highlights key findings from the survey, including the employment status of retrenched residents as of June 2020. We also provide an overview of available opportunities in one of the hardest-hit sectors – tourism – as well as the Government’s efforts to support workers and businesses in the sector.
  2. On the whole, the study found that hiring slowed in 2Q 2020 but did not come to a standstill. Despite weaker hiring sentiments, a good number of retrenched workers re-entered employment. Majority who found jobs did so relatively quickly and did not experience sizeable pay cuts. We expect the new Jobs Growth Incentive to boost re-entry efforts.

    Employment Status of Residents Retrenched in 1Q 2020 (as at June 2020)
  3. These observations are based on a study on 2,160 residents retrenched in 1Q 2020. It uses the same methodology as a study on retrenched workers carried out in 1Q 2018, which observed that 47% had re-entered employment by June 2018. In comparison, the 2020 study observed that 39% had re-entered employment by June 2020, a difference of 8%-points. This suggests that job prospects for retrenched workers held up, despite their job search taking place in a much weaker employment market and within the Circuit Breaker period during which many activities were disrupted. We are continuing to monitor the employment outcomes of the retrenched workers.
  4. 7 in 10 retrenched workers who re-entered employment did so within a month. PMETs and those in their 30s and 40s were more likely to have found jobs. About half (53%) possessed transferrable skills which enabled them to switch to a different industry. Majority (60%) of those who found a job also did not take a sizeable pay cut1.

    Chart 1: Occupation and Industry Change Among Residents Retrenched in 1Q 2020 Who Found Employment (as at June 2020)

    Chart 2: Wage Change Among Residents Retrenched in 1Q 2020 Who Found Employment (as at June 2020)
  5. On the whole, these findings suggest that hiring slowed in 2Q 2020 but did not come to a standstill. Despite the weakness in the employment market, majority who found jobs did so relatively quickly with modest impact to salary.
  6. To help companies retain workers during this period, the Government launched the Jobs Support Scheme (JSS). Over $16 billion of JSS payouts have been disbursed, benefitting over 2 million local workers in more than 150,000 firms. With the JSS extended till March 2021, most businesses will receive wage support for 17 months to help them retain as many workers as possible.
  7. Another $1 billion has also been set aside to support businesses to hire locals under the Jobs Growth Incentive (JGI) scheme. JGI provides substantial salary support to enable firms that continue to do well to bring forward their hiring plans and grow their local workforce from September 2020 to February 2021. Together with the extension of the JSS, this is a major boost for job creation for locals.
  8. However, we recognise that despite companies’ best efforts and the coverage from JSS and JGI, some employers may still need to make adjustments to their businesses to stay viable, including conducting retrenchments. The Government will take active steps to ensure that workers who faced displacements would be able to find alternative employment and get back on their feet quickly.

    Efforts to support affected workers and businesses in the tourism sector
  9. With global travel restrictions in place amid COVID-19, the tourism sector had to pivot quickly to capture new business opportunities while preparing for an eventual recovery. Even though business transformation efforts took a back seat in the first half of 2020, many employers tried to retain workers by redesigning jobs and training existing employees to take on these new roles.
  10. Supporting existing employees whose jobs may be at risk:
    1. Workforce Singapore (WSG) rolled out two new reskilling programmes under the Tourism sector in February 2020 as part of the COVID-19 support measures for businesses and workers. These were the Job Redesign Reskilling Programme for the Hotel industry, and the Digital Marketing Reskilling Programme for Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, Exhibitions (MICE), Attractions and Tour & Travel Sectors.
      1. These served to minimise potential retrenchment and ensure that the hard-hit Tourism sector would have the skilled manpower they need to meet business demand when it returns.
      2. As of end August 2020, more than 1,400 workers across more than 100 hotels and tourism companies have been, or are being, retrained and redeployed to new or higher-value roles. For example:
        • 56-year-old Rofina Binte Ahmad, who has been doing housekeeping for the past six years, joined Capri by Fraser in 2019 as a Houseman, attending to deliveries and guest requests and supporting Room Attendants.
        • To improve staff productivity and efficiency, Capri adopted the RFID system. The company tapped on the Job Redesign Reskilling Programme to train its staff, including Rofina, to learn the new technology while enhancing their job scope.
          • Rofina felt that her employer appreciated her contributions and trusted her with more responsibilities.
          • She also acquired computer and digital skills for her expanded job functions which include housekeeping and laundry operations.
    2. Employers in the tourism sector can also tap on the Enhanced Training Support Package to reskill and upskill their workforce. 28,000 training places have been filled.
    Opportunities in the Tourism Sector
  11. While hiring demand had dropped in the past six months, some businesses in the tourism sector were able to pivot quickly into new markets and products, and uncover new growth areas.
    1. With work-from-home being the default mode of work arrangement, some hotels have started offering packages for individuals to work from a hotel with easy access to hotel amenities such as high-speed internet and meeting pods.
    2. There are also opportunities for tour operators to pivot their domestic tours to include topics that attract Singaporeans.
    3. With virtual events becoming commonplace, the MICE sector also started seeing a rise in alternative solutions such as the exploration of hybrid events and adoption of technologies to host meetings and conferences.
    4. The shift into these new areas represents refreshed job opportunities. For instance:
      1. Traditional event managers are now being sought after to work on managing digital events instead; while
      2. Those with broadcasting and content creation backgrounds are in greater demand.
    5. This has created opportunities for workers and jobseekers who were able to embark on new careers within the sector.
  12. Jobseekers who are keen to enter the tourism sector or existing workers in tourism sector looking to reskill for new opportunities can tap on the SGUnited Jobs and Skills programmes.
    1. Since April, more than 2,400 job, traineeship, company attachment, and training opportunities have been made available, offered by more than 220 companies in the tourism sector.
    2. Of the opportunities in jobs, traineeships, and company attachments, about 41% are in PMET roles such as conference and event planners, system analysts and marketing sales executives.
      1. Many of them are also longer-term roles.
      2. Companies that continue to hire include Marina Bay Sands, Capella Hotel Singapore, Raffles Town Club and Seletar Country Club.
      Chart 3: SGUnited Job, Traineeship, Company Attachment and Training Opportunities in the Tourism Sector

  13. Between April to July 2020, more than 900 individuals found jobs or took on new roles in tourism through WSG’s programmes.
    1. About 87% were mid-career individuals who participated in the career conversion programmes for new hires or to reskill existing workers for new jobs.
    2. Of which, 51% were aged 40 and above.
  14. Fresh and recent graduates and mid-career jobseekers who lack relevant experience or skills, but have a keen interest to enter the tourism sector can tap on:
    1. The traineeships or company attachments under the SGUnited Traineeships and SGUnited Mid-Career Pathways Programmes; and
    2. Tourism courses under the SGUnited Skills programme to undergo training to take on roles such as Events Organiser/Planner, Concierge, Housekeeping Supervisor and Guest Services Supervisor/Executive.
      1. There are also courses in areas such as Digital Marketing, Social Media Marketing and Business Analytics which will better prepare jobseekers to take on new job roles within the Tourism sector.
  15. MOM and WSG will continue to support jobseekers and workers, and match them to meaningful opportunities. For example:
  16. 50-year-old Allen Tan was a mid-career jobseeker looking to take on a different role in a different industry. He had a wealth of experience in supply chain and logistics but decided to seek a new chapter in his career when his former company had the intention to scale down its warehouse operations last year.
    1. Decided to join the tourism sector after he learnt about the expansion of Integrated Resorts and saw prospects in the sector.
    2. Hired as the Operations Manager of Transportation with Marina Bay Sands through the PCP for Professional Executives, Allen oversees the valet and self-park operations for the integrated resorts and leads a team of 70 staff.
      1. The PCP helped him transit and bridge his technical competencies with leadership competencies required of him in his new role.
      2. Previous role was back-end and technical in nature while his new role in hospitality is front-facing and guest-centric.
    3. One year into the job, Allen remains upbeat about the prospects in tourism despite the current situation.
      1. Continues to improve and learn on the job with strong support from his team.
      2. Aspires to develop and grow his career in tourism in the long term.
    Engagement and outreach efforts to help Singaporeans access opportunities
  17. To help jobseekers, including affected workers from tourism sectors, navigate the opportunities under the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package, WSG conducted 50 outreach and engagement activities across Singapore in August 2020, which allowed 12,200 jobseekers to meet hiring companies and obtain career guidance to improve their job search.
  18. Please refer to Table 1 for more details of these events.

    Table 1: List of WSG’s engagement and outreach efforts in August 2020
  19. The next SGUnited Jobs and Skills Info Kiosks will be held at the Lot One Shoppers’ Mall and Causeway Point from 11 to 13 Sep, 10.30am to 8.30pm. The SGUnited Jobs and Skills Series will be held at Oasis Terrace @ Punngol on 25 and 26 Sep 2020, 10am to 7pm.


  1. This refers to an income decline of at least 5%.