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Labour Market Report 1Q 2024: Brighter job prospects ahead as market expands in the first three months

Improved economic prospects for 2024 bring more job opportunities and increased hiring optimism among companies.
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By Kay del Rosario 20 Jun 2024
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The labour market continued to improve in the first quarter (1Q) of 2024 as Singapore’s economy picked up steam.


According to the latest Labour Market Report, total employment grew by 4,700, driven solely by increased resident employment.


The Ministry of Manpower’s (MOM) Manpower Research and Statistics Department released these findings on 20 June 2024.


More job opportunities for residents


Resident workers can look forward to more job opportunities, with the number of job vacancies rising for the second consecutive quarter to reach 81,900 in March 2024, up from 79,800 in December 2023.


This growth reflects improved economic prospects for the year ahead. The financial and insurance services and public administration sectors led the increase in resident employment.


While non-resident employment saw a slight dip of 800, mainly in the Construction and Manufacturing sectors due to the lower Dependency Ratio Ceiling for the Construction and Process sectors taking effect, the overall labour market remains tight with more job openings than job seekers.


The majority of retrenched residents could secure new jobs within six months, although the re-entry rate dipped slightly from 61.5 per cent in the last quarter of 2023 to 59.4 per cent in the first quarter of this year.


Despite this, the re-entry rates remained above 50 per cent across various sectors, including Information and Communications, Financial and Insurance Services, and Professional Services.


Retrenchments ease, unemployment rates remain low


Retrenchments declined, dropping from 3,460 in the last quarter of 2023 to 3,030 in the first quarter of this year.


This was mainly due to fewer layoffs in outward-oriented sectors such as wholesale trade and electronics manufacturing.


Although unemployment rates increased slightly in March 2024 (overall: 2.1 per cent; resident: 3.0 per cent; citizen: 3.1 per cent), they remained within the range typically seen during non-recessionary periods.


The resident long-term unemployment rate also stayed low at 0.8 per cent.


NTUC Assistant Secretary-General Patrick Tay said: “I am heartened to see that the number of job vacancies has grown and that the incidence of retrenchment has continued to fall in 1Q 2024. The tight labour market and the improved economic outlook should result in better prospects for our workforce.”


He urged all stakeholders to continue with the efforts to raise local workforce skills and productivity.


“We will need to watch out for parts of our workforce who may need to adapt or retrain, particularly as companies continue to transform and restructure to incorporate new technologies and meet changing needs, including the advent of Gen AI and Sustainability,” he added.


Promising outlook and support for workers


Looking ahead, the employment outlook is encouraging. With an improved economic forecast for 2024, a sustained rise in job vacancies, and growing hiring optimism among companies, MOM expects the labour market to continue expanding.


As retrenchments continue to ease and resident employment growth remains positive, ongoing increases in unemployment rates are not anticipated.


MOM and tripartite partners said they remain committed to empowering employers and workers to press on with business and workforce transformation.


Through job redesign initiatives like the Jobs Transformation Maps (JTMs), workers can understand how their roles may evolve in response to industry trends and acquire the necessary skills to take on new or enhanced positions.


Additionally, employers can tap on various grants and programmes, such as the Support for Job Redesign under the Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG-JR), the NTUC Company Training Committee (CTC) Grant, and Workforce Singapore’s Career Conversion Programmes (CCPs), to transform their businesses, redesign jobs, and upskill their workers.


Employers can also visit this link to learn how NTUC can help transform their operations.


Jobseekers who need extra support can make use of career matching services offered by Workforce Singapore and NTUC’s e2i (Employment and Employability Institute), as well as explore career options and pathways through the CareersFinder feature on the MyCareersFuture job portal.


The full Labour Market Report 1Q 2024 can be found here.