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224,800 workers at 6,300 firms affected by cost-cutting measures from March to July: MOM

SINGAPORE — In the second of a weekly report on the job market in Singapore, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said on Thursday (Aug 20) that from March to the end of July, some 6,300 employers have submitted notifications about cost-cutting measures.

224,800 workers at 6,300 firms affected by cost-cutting measures from March to July: MOM

Office workers wearing protective face masks walk in the central business district during the Covid-19 outbreak in Singapore.

  • Half the affected workers were from the accommodation and food, construction, and wholesale and retail trade sector
  • Cost-cutting spiked at the start of the circuit breaker but has since decreased
  • MOM highlighted startups as a good source of jobs for jobseekers

 

SINGAPORE — In the second of a weekly report on the job market in Singapore, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said on Thursday (Aug 20) that:

  • From March to the end of July, some 6,300 employers have submitted notifications about cost-cutting measures

  • These measures affected some 224,800 workers 

MOM said these cost-saving measures are alternatives to retrenchments, which should be the last resort for employers. The numbers do not include retrenchments. The top three cost-saving measures implemented were: 

  • adjustments to monthly salary components

  • no-pay leave

  • shorter work weeks 

About half of the affected workers are from three sectors: 

  • 52,600 from the accommodation and food services sector

  • 42,000 from the construction sector

  • 23,800 from the wholesale and retail trade sector 

Local employees — Singaporeans and permanent residents — made up slightly less than half of all employees affected, MOM said.

The Jobs Situation Report also showed that the volume of notifications in cost-saving measures by firms peaked during the circuit breaker period, but has since decreased significantly. 

The number of such notifications in the past four months:

  • April: 83,000

  • May: 38,600

  • June: 34,400

  • July: 22,800

“This suggests that companies were making concerted efforts to hold back retrenchments, likely encouraged by the broad-based support measures provided by the Government,” said MOM. 

“Based on MOM and Tafep’s (the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices) engagements, employers have generally been responsible and implemented cost-saving measures fairly,” MOM added. 

While cost-saving measures outlined in the Tripartite Advisory are recommended alternatives for retrenchment, job losses will still happen with the mounting pressure in business due to the Covid-19 pandemic, MOM said. 

For retrenched workers, the Taskforce for Responsible Retrenchment and Employment Facilitation will continue to render support and match workers to “new opportunities in growth sectors”, it added. 

The first Jobs Situation Report was published on Aug 11, along with the Ministry of Trade and Industry's second-quarter gross domestic product statistics. It contained information on the number of jobs, traineeships and attachments available. The report said that some 24,000 jobseekers had been placed in jobs and training opportunities created under the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package since end-July.

MOM said it will be providing weekly updates on the jobs situation in Singapore to “highlight the opportunities available for jobseekers and how they can access these opportunities”. 

SUPPORT FOR BUDDING ENTREPRENEURS

Also on Thursday, Enterprise Singapore (ESG) announced enhancements to a programme to help support startups.

The Startup SG Founder programme, begun in 2017, provides first-time entrepreneurs with mentorship support and startup capital grants. 

Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat in his ministerial statement on Monday said he will set aside S$150 million to enhance the Startup SG Founder programme in phases, as part of efforts to continue to spur innovation and entrepreneurship in Singapore. 

One of the enhancements is a three-month Venture Building programme, under which new entrepreneurs will be provided support for their startups. This includes help in sourcing information, commercialising their ideas into businesses, getting product or solution validation from customers and finding capital. 

Participants can also tap resources such as industry experts for mentorship and shared resources such as co-working spaces. 

The programme will be open to Singaporeans and permanent residents, and each participant will receive a monthly stipend of S$1,500 for the duration of the programme. 

As a start, five autonomous universities — Nanyang Technological University, National University of Singapore, Singapore Management University, Singapore University of Technology and Design and Singapore University of Social Sciences — will serve as partners that provide these programmes. 

Applications will begin by the end of this month, and ESG will be expanding the list of partners. 

Support for startup capital for entrepreneurs will also be increased, from S$30,000 to S$50,000. 

Enhancements to the SG Founder grant will kick off in September and “help to extend the runway for startups to develop their business ideas, as generating revenue will be more challenging than before during this period”, ESG said.  

Startups will still be required to raise and commit S$10,000 as a co-matching fund to the grant.

To tap the grant, startups must be formed by minimally three Singaporeans or permanent residents, inclusive of the founders, of which at least two must be first-time founders.

Related topics

Ministry of Manpower Jobs startups retrenchment

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