NTUC Assistant Secretary-General Patrick Tay said on Wednesday that it was heartening to see a slight improvement in productivity, but stressed it was still a journey for the union, government and employers to soldier on.
Overall labour productivity in Singapore rose by 1.4 per cent in 2016, an improvement from the 1.0 per cent in 2015, according to an earlier release by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) on labour market developments in 2016.
Mr Tay said the softer labour market in 2016 reflected economic uncertainty.
“As anticipated, we see more mature PMEs (professionals, managers and executives) (increasingly those in their 30s as well) being affected by this. This is consistent with the report stating that workers aged 50 and above and those with degree qualifications were more affected. Those in their 30s not spared.”
“Am therefore heartened by MOM’s timely announcements last week at The Committee of Supply on the Adapt and Grow, especially the enhanced wage and training support for jobseekers, focused on those older or unemployed for longer periods. I hope the new Attach-and-Train initiative will also help jobseekers reskill for jobs in growth sectors in spite of weaker hiring due to economic uncertainty.”
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Mr Tay said NTUC has launched the PIVOT programme on Monday to help affected or vulnerable PMEs in terms of peer support.
“I urge workers and employers to tap on all these schemes and embrace the changes before the change embraces them,” he said.
He added that the labour movement would continue to support and help workers stay able, agile and adaptable and urged employers and workers to be ready with new skills, relevant to new jobs and resilient to new changes.
Earlier, MOM said the annual average resident unemployment rate rose slightly from 2.8 per cent in 2015 to 3.0 per cent in 2016, the highest since 2010. The increase was broad-based across most age and education groups, with larger increases among those aged 30 to 39 and 50 and over, as well as those with secondary and degree qualifications.
Redundancies rose to 19,170 in 2016, due mainly to business restructuring and reorganisation. This continued an upward trend since 2010, but was still lower than the recessionary high of 23,430 in 2009.
(THE BUSINESS TIMES)