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Retrenchment & Re-employment in 2004



The Ministry of Manpower’s Research and Statistics Department recently released report on “Retrenchment & Re-Employment, 2004” showed that manufacturing employees were the most vulnerable to retrenchment. 14 per 1,000 manufacturing employees were laid off, compared to 8.5 for services employees in 2004.
However, driven by rapid globalisation and advances in info-communication technology, the difference in retrenchments has narrowed between workers in the manufacturing and services sectors.
Similarly, the difference in the incidence of retrenchments among the major occupational groups has also narrowed in recent years. This was mainly due to the rising incidence of retrenchments among professionals, managers, executives and technicians, which outstripped that of the lower skilled workers for two consecutive years before dipping below that of production and related workers in 2004.
Bolstered by the robust economic recovery in 2004, layoffs were lowest in seven years, comparable to levels before the Asian financial crisis. The percentage of employees retrenched due mainly to a recession or downturn in the industry dropped to only 9.7% from 19% in 2003.
The majority, or three in five, of the workers were laid off due mainly to reorganisation and restructuring. In the year before, the corresponding figure was one in two.
Workers aged below 30 were the most re-employable with 74% of them finding jobs within six months of their retrenchment in 2004. Re-employment declined with increasing age and for those with lower educational qualifications. Those without secondary qualifications had an annual average re-employment rate of only 55%. Mature tertiary-educated workers also faced difficulties with re-employment, with degree holders aged 50 and over facing the lowest re-employment rate of 37%.
Compared with 2003, the re-employment of the retrenched workers only improved for the younger cohorts as mature workers especially those aged 50 and above continued to face difficulties.
The expected slowdown in economic growth in 2005 might potentially exert upward pressures on retrenchment, amid on-going restructuring and reorganisation. It is therefore important for wage systems to be flexible so that quick wage adjustments could be made according to changes in business conditions to help minimise job losses.
For more Information
The report is available online at the Ministry of Manpower’s website at

Source: Ministry of Manpower Press Release 18 Apr 2005



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19 April 2005