SINGAPORE: Singapore’s resident employment rate hits a new high this year, driven by strong job creation and a higher number of women and older workers in the workforce.
The resident labour force participation rate reached a new high of 66.6% in 2012, compared with 66.1% in 2011.
These are the key findings of the "Singapore Workforce, 2012" report by the Manpower Research and Statistics Department of the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) released on Friday.
MOM said the findings are based on the 2012 Comprehensive Labour Force Survey conducted in the middle of this year.
There were 2.12 million residents in the labour force in June 2012, comprising 1.18 million (56%) males and 0.94 million (44%) females.
The employment rate for older residents increased at a faster pace amid the tight labour market and measures to help older residents stay employable, such as the re—employment legislation and the enhanced Special Employment Credit put in place earlier this year.
MOM said 64% of residents aged 55 to 64 were employed in 2012, up from 61.2% in 2011.
However income growth moderated in 2012, amid the weaker economic conditions.
The median monthly income from work (including employer CPF contributions) of full—time employed residents rose by 7.1% over the year to $3,480 in 2012, down from the growth of 8.3% in 2011.
Economist Leong Kaiwen from the Nanyang Technological University explains: "Companies are actually experiencing large increases in a lot of components of business costs. They’re experiencing large increases in wage costs...(meaning) all the additional costs like insurance costs on top of basic wages. They are experiencing large increases in rental rates. They are also experiencing large increases in fuel and transportation costs. All these together make it very difficult for the companies to increase the wages of the workers."
Accounting for inflation using the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for all items, real median income growth moderated to 2.2% in 2012 from 2.9% in 2011.
Separately, the labour movement found that most of the 118 unionised companies surveyed re—employed older workers on the same terms they had previously.
NTUC says these workers are spread across various sectors, with different wage levels.
NTUC’s deputy secretary—general, Heng Chee How, said: "(What) the labour movement is more concerned about is whether or not the companies are valuing the workers for their experience and for their performance. Based on this preliminary survey that we have recently conducted, in fact we’re gratified to know that the surveyed companies, the clear majority of them (about three in four of them) actually do value the workers."
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