Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Tougher job market for new entrants; Unemployment for Singaporeans and PRs rises in third quarter 2015

Unemployment rising for younger workers; firms wary about hiring in slowing economy
By Marissa Lee, The Straits Times, 2 Nov 2015

Actuarial science graduate Michelle Lew has sent her resume to more than 100 firms since last December, hoping to land a permanent job.

But almost a year later, she has not received a single job offer.

"I think it's because the economy is bad. I'm not sure why. I'm working in an insurance firm as a temp and I have done two short-term internships in small firms," said the 21-year-old, who received her bachelor's degree in actuarial science from Australia.

Tougher job market for new entrants: Unemployment rising for younger workers; firms wary about hiring in slowing economy. str.sg/ZbKt
Posted by The Straits Times on Sunday, November 1, 2015

The job market has not been kind to new entrants to the market like Ms Lew, with unemployment rising for the younger group of workers.

The under-30 unemployment rate rose to 4.3 per cent in September last year, from 3.9 per cent in September 2013, data from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) showed.

In contrast, total unemployment across all ages posted only a marginal increase, from 2.2 per cent to 2.3 per cent over the same period.

Part of the reason for the rise in youth unemployment is simply the slowing economy, which has made bosses more hesitant about hiring.

Of 665 employers surveyed by recruiter ManpowerGroup in September, just 16 per cent forecast an increase in staffing levels in the October to December period, lower than the 19 per cent in the same period last year.

"Since the beginning of the year, companies have been cautious about hiring because of falling oil prices and a slowing economy in China," said Ms Linda Teo, country manager of ManpowerGroup Singapore.

Advance estimates from the MOM also showed that unemployment for Singaporeans edged up to 3.1 per cent in September.

Just last week, the central bank gave a sobering assessment of the short-term outlook for the economy.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore said the economy is facing uncertainty in the short term as the outlook for Singapore's key trading partners remains gloomy.

SIM University senior lecturer Walter Theseira also expects underemployment to rise as the economy slows down, since "companies may hire part-timers or short-term contractors but be unable to justify permanent headcount".

The weaker employment outlook has prompted some young job seekers to burnish their resumes with extra qualifications.

Mr Tseng Shih Ying, 24, a quantitative finance major at the National University of Singapore, hopes to show interviewers more than just a graduation certificate.

"I'm going to take my CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) level one. I didn't get an offer from my last internship, so I feel that I need to boost my resume," said Mr Tseng.

Ms Jan Richards, president of CFA Society Singapore, has noted a "marked increase" in student enrolments for the level one exam.

This year, 31 per cent of level one candidates are students, up from 24.5 per cent last year, she said.

To be sure, about nine in 10 fresh graduates found jobs within six months of graduating last year, according to the Education Ministry's survey of graduates here.

But some of that job-matching also comes from students lowering their expectations, settling for firms and job functions outside their first choice, students said.

Mr Ong Chuon Yan, 25, a human resources major at the Singapore Management University, sent out job applications more than six months before graduation.

He said: "It's quite stressful because it's already very competitive and, on top of that, there may be a decision made not to hire anyone."

He is willing to take a pay cut to find a new and permanent job, but he has had no luck so far, working largely part-time and contract jobs since 2012.
Posted by The New Paper on Monday, November 2, 2015

Unemployment for Singaporeans and PRs rises in third quarter 2015: MOM
By Joanna Seow, The Straits Times, 30 Oct 2015

Weak economic growth because of the sluggish global economy is having an impact on jobs, with unemployment for Singaporeans and permanent residents creeping up for the second quarter in a row.

As of last month, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for citizens and permanent residents was 3 per cent, up from 2.5 per cent in March.

Though still low by international standards, this is the highest since 2010.

The rate for citizens was 3.1 per cent, up from 2.6 per cent in March, according to preliminary figures released by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) yesterday.

Economists said the economic slowdown was cyclical and thus had more of an impact on the local population.

"Residents tend to be in higher-skilled jobs which are more susceptible to such changes than low-skilled jobs held mostly by foreign workers," said DBS economist Irvin Seah.

The overall unemployment rate, which includes foreigners working here, remained unchanged at 2 per cent after taking seasonal changes into account.

Citi economist Kit Wei Zheng said sectors that are more dependent on foreign workers are still facing shortages, while foreigners who are retrenched would automatically leave the workforce and not count towards unemployment statistics.

At the same time that unemployment grew, however, more jobs were filled in the three months from July to September. The number of people employed rose by 16,400 because of growth in the service and construction sectors.

This improved on the rise of 9,700 in the previous quarter and the fall of 6,100 in the preceding one, though it paled beside the employment growth of 33,400 from July to September last year.

"We are still seeing the situation where European-headquartered companies may have headcount restrictions in place due to market challenges," said Ms Femke Hellemons, country manager of recruitment firm Adecco Singapore.

The total number of people employed in jobs here was 3,644,000 as of last month.

Employment can rise in tandem with the jobless rate as better employment prospects convince people to re-enter the workforce and look for jobs, but if they do not find one immediately, they come under the unemployment count, said SIM University senior lecturer Walter Theseira.

Hiring picked up in the service sector, with 17,000 more people being employed in the past three months, compared with just 6,500 in the previous quarter.

The construction sector added 3,800 workers. But employment in the manufacturing sector continued a year-long slide, ending the quarter with 4,300 fewer workers than it started.

Across the economy, firms laid off fewer people for the third consecutive quarter, with 2,900 people losing their jobs from July to September, down from 3,250 in the previous three months.

"MOM and the Singapore Workforce Development Agency stand ready to help displaced local workers to re-skill and upgrade so that they are able to take on new jobs," said MOM in a statement.

The Employment Situation quarterly release has just been released today. Q3 figures showed that employment continued to...
Posted by Singapore Ministry of Manpower on Wednesday, October 28, 2015

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