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Wage Growth Rose at Faster Rate, Lower Unemployment among PMETs This Year

December 4, 2017

More professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) in Singapore are finding employment this year, said the Manpower Ministry’s initial report on the annual labour force survey.

According to the report released on Wednesday (Nov 29), a smaller proportion of PMETs are jobless compared with the figure last year. While the demand for non-PMET workers is at lower rate, overall monthly income of average worker has gone up, Straits Times reports.

Singaporean resident PMETs are experiencing improved situation in its early stages. The report noted that unemployment rate fell from 3.1 percent last year to 3 percent this year, after being on the uptrend since 2012. But current number remains higher than in the first half of this decade. Similarly, the long-term unemployment rate for PMETS, which shows the amount of those out of work for at least six months, dipped from 0.9 percent last year to 0.7 this year.

Despite the slight growth, the figures from the mid-year survey of Singaporeans and permanent residents had uplifted analysts towards the country’s employment prospect. DBS economist Irvin Seah foresees job prospect for PMETs will improve further as export-oriented sectors, such as information technology and financial services, recover in the near future. Making up 56 percent of working Singapore residents, PMETs were hit the hardest in the economic slowdown of the last few years.

Toby Fowlston, managing director for South-east Asia at recruitment firm Robert Walters, said that e-commerce, insurance and logistics will be among the key sectors that will drive the growing demand for high-skilled workers.

On the other hand, the ministry pointed out that non-PMETs faced a harder slog in the past year as the job vacancies for them is shrinking since 2014. Their unemployment rate grew up from 4.2 percent last year to 4.5 percent this year, while the long-term unemployment rate remained unchanged at 0.7 percent.

See: Talents with Specific Skillsets in Demand despite Minimal Salary Raises Next Year

Additionally, the median monthly income for full-time workers, including employers’ contributions to the Central Provident Fund, rose by 4.3 percent to $4,232 this year. This number was a higher pay rise than the 2.7 percent growth last year. If preliminary inflation figures were taken into account, the median monthly real income grew from 3.3 percent last year to 3.7 percent this year.

Lower-wage workers have seen their gross monthly salary rising as well, mostly attributed to schemes such as the progressive wage model that sets wage floors for various skill levels. Preliminary figures show that in the past five years, the real income of full-time workers in the 20th percentile rose by an average of 4.2 percent a year. This figure higher than the average growth of 3.4 percent a year at the median – the mid-point of a range.

Meanwhile, the ministry added that the greying population and greater likelihood of young people pursuing further education instead of starting work have lowered slightly the labour force participation rate for residents aged 15 and older. The figure was at 67.7 percent in June 2017, down from 68 percent a year earlier and a peak of 68.3 percent in 2015.

Read also: Southeast Asia to See Strong Economic Outlook in 2018: Robert Walters Survey

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