Job vacancies hit record high in June amid labour crunch
Job vacancies in Singapore rose to a seasonally adjusted all-time high in June, driven by demand for manpower in growth sectors and difficulty of filling posts on account of border restrictions.
At the same time, tighter Covid-19 curbs in the second quarter of the year also saw retrenchments rise slightly, compared with the first quarter, while more people were placed on shorter work weeks or temporarily laid off.
The juxtaposition of high job vacancies - 92,100 in June - and higher retrenchments, revealed by data from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) yesterday, could indicate job and sectoral mismatches, said experts.
MOM said there were 163 openings for every 100 unemployed people in June. The ratio of vacancies to unemployed people increased to above one for the first time since March 2019. These are seasonally adjusted figures.
OCBC Bank head of treasury research and strategy Selena Ling said a higher retrenchment rate does not necessarily imply a lower vacancy rate, adding: "The latter is tied to business confidence in hiring."
Human resource advisory company PeopleWorldwide Consulting managing director David Leong also said it is not a case of simple substitution.
"The unemployed persons cannot seamlessly adapt and assimilate into the available job opening," he said.
The number of retrenchments rose slightly from 2,270 in the first quarter this year to 2,340 in the second quarter, although Permanent Secretary for Manpower Aubeck Kam said at a briefing yesterday that the figures still remain within the pre-pandemic quarterly range.
"The majority of retrenchments were due to restructuring and reorganisation," he added.
There were notable increases in job vacancies in construction and manufacturing, according to MOM's second-quarter labour market report.
MOM said the border restrictions have affected the availability of manpower in construction and manufacturing.
Both sectors have a higher reliance on non-resident workers, and job vacancies have been climbing steadily in previous quarters, the ministry noted.
There was also sustained demand for manpower in growth sectors like professional services as well as information and communications.
Meanwhile, resident unemployment continued to ease in the first half of this year, data from the ministry showed.
The seasonally adjusted resident long-term unemployment rate dipped to 0.9 per cent in June, from highs of 1.1 per cent recorded in both December last year and March this year.
Overall, seasonally adjusted unemployment rates were at 2.7 per cent in June this year, continuing a downtrend.