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More workers axed in 2015 - and they took longer to get re-hired

Manpower ministry data shows that those aged above 50 and non-PMETs found it harder to land another job

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The hardest hit in the 2015 layoffs were older workers. Those aged 40 and up made up 65 per cent of the affected.


MORE workers were laid off last year and they took longer to find new jobs, according to the latest Ministry of Manpower (MOM) report on redundancy and re-entry into employment.

It said: "There was a broad-based decline in re-entry rates among residents across all age and occupation groups in 2015 compared to 2014. The declines were more for those aged 50 and above as well as for non-PMETs (professionals, managers, executives and technicians)."

Business restructuring and softer economic conditions drove up the number of redundancies, which include workers who were let go before the end of their contracts. From 12,930 redundancies in 2014, the figure went up to 15,580 last year - the highest since the 2009 recession, when 23,430 workers were axed.

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Despite still-low unemployment and there being more job openings than job seekers, workers who were laid off took longer to get re-hired - 2.21 months in 2015 against 2.14 months in 2014.

However, younger people (those aged 30 and under) were re-employed sooner, in 1.85 months, compared to 1.93 months in 2014.

The PMETs who were laid off took 2.37 months to find themselves back at work, though this was marginally faster than the 2.38 months they took in 2014. Those with degrees took 2.47 months, against 2.54 months previously.

Some 66 per cent of those who were laid off in the first nine months of last year had returned to work by December, down from 68 per cent in 2014.

The report noted that since 2012, this figure has hovered in a "stable" range of 66 to 68 per cent.

Re-entry rates for PMETs remained lower than that for other occupational groups. But while degree-holders took a little longer to re-enter employment, the report says their re-entry rate remained below average, reflecting strong competition for jobs among this group.

The hardest hit in the 2015 layoffs were older workers. Those aged 40 and up made up 65 per cent of the affected. The PMETs were also vulnerable, with 8.9 layoffs per 1,000 of them, against the overall 7.4.

The number of layoffs rose across all sectors, with the majority of the increase from the manufacturing and professional-services sector, which has been hit by the fall in global oil prices and a slowdown in marine and construction demand.

Some 5,210 workers were made redundant in the manufacturing sector last year, up from 3,970 in 2014. The services sector axed 8,510 workers, up from 7,260 in 2014.

Redundancies in the construction sector went up from 1,690 in 2014 to 1,780 in 2015.

The report says residents were less vulnerable to layoffs than foreigners. Their share of redundancies (58 per cent) remained lower than their two-thirds share in employment.

The incidence of redundancy among residents (7.1 layoffs per 1,000 employees) was also lower than that for foreigners (7.7 per 1,000) in 2015.