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    Apr 25, 2014

    More professionals being retrenched, says MOM report

    MORE workers are being laid off, and a growing proportion of them are higher skilled.

    For the second year in a row, professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) were most at risk of losing their jobs, a Ministry of Manpower (MOM) report showed yesterday.

    Overall, layoffs rose 5 per cent last year to 11,560, up from 11,010 a year earlier, amid continued economic restructuring.

    As the pool of employees grew, there was no change in the incidence of redundancy - it affected 5.8 workers per 1,000 employees in both years.

    However, 7.3 in every 1,000 PMETs were affected last year, with 6,430 asked to go.

    They made up 56 per cent of those who lost their jobs last year, a proportion that has been on the rise since 2010, when they comprised only 35 per cent.

    Experts said this could be because economic restructuring has been moving up the value chain.

    "Most of the low-lying fruit of capital or technology investments to reap productivity have been picked," said OCBC economist Selena Ling.

    PMETs in the manufacturing, information and communications and financial services industries were most at risk, the MOM report revealed.

    Among residents, PMETs formed 66 per cent of those laid off last year, disproportionately higher than their share of the resident workforce at 52 per cent.

    But speaking on the sidelines of a MOM seminar, Singapore National Employers Federation president Stephen Lee said the job market is still tight, "so the PMEs should be able to find work provided they're not too choosy".

    "The job offer and job seeker ratio is still quite healthy, in favour of job seekers," he added.