Friday 27 April 2012

Some 9,990 workers laid off in 2011

By Qiuyi Tan, Channel NewsAsia, 26 Apr 2012

Amid more moderate economic growth, more workers were laid off in 2011, especially in the fourth quarter of the year.

Some 9,990 workers were laid off last year, up slightly from the 9,800 in 2010.

But the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said seven out of 10 residents who were laid off were re-employed within a year.

This is according to MOM's yearly Redundancy and Re-employment Report.

With a larger employment base, however, the incidence of redundancy dropped.

5.5 workers were laid off for every 1,000 employees in 2011, down from 5.7 in 2010.

Redundancies for the past two years remain substantially lower than the more than 23,000 workers laid off during the recession in 2009.

Mr Yeo Guat Kwang, director, Workplace Safety and Health, NTUC, said: "The economic situation is getting more challenging, and the economic cycle is getting shorter, so it's inevitable that we'll see such figures going up and down.

"Fortunately, I think based on the last two years' figures, we don't have a significant trend to show that it's been getting worse.

"It's important that we continue to strengthen our efforts to strengthen employment and employability capability of all the workers. We need to take good care of those who're affected, although the numbers are still small."

Production, transport operators and cleaning workers formed the largest group of layoffs, at 47.6 per cent.

Professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) came in second at 41.7 per cent.

The remaining 11 per cent were clerical, sales and service workers.

For companies, restructuring and high labour cost were the top two reasons for laying off workers, followed by high operating cost and business re-organisation.

Singapore National Employers Federation assistant executive-director Tan Kwang Cheak said: "If we look at overall context of how the economy is, how competitive it has been, not only in Singapore but globally, I think companies are constantly looking for ways to restructure, to improve their processes, to, in essence, be more competitive as they seek greater growth.

"So I think it reflects that ongoing process for companies."

In addition, the report said for those who re-entered employment within 12 months of redundancy, the average time taken to secure re-entry into employment was 2.1 months.

Those in clerical, sales and service jobs, as well as those who're younger, took the shortest time.

Data showed re-entry into employment has been improving for the past three years.

Seventy per cent of residents laid off in the first three quarters of 2011 found jobs within a year, up from 66 per cent in 2010, and 65 per cent in 2009.

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