Govt workforce 'to grow 2.5% a year'

Govt workforce 'to grow 2.5% a year'

SINGAPORE - The number of workers in Singapore's public sector is expected to grow by 2.5 per cent annually in the next few years.

At the same time, latest official figures show 94 per cent of the 1,067 eligible public servants who wished to continue working past the retirement age of 62 were re-employed in 2013.

Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean and Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam gave these statistics separately in written parliamentary answers on Monday to Mr Seah Kian Peng (Marine Parade GRC).

The public service is Singapore's largest employer, with 143,000 people on its payroll at the end of last year.

Its projected manpower growth rate is roughly similar to that of the past 10 years, but is lower than the national labour force growth of 4.1 per cent a year in the past decade.

The annual expansion, said Mr Tharman, is to meet the demand of agencies for "additional capacity to implement new strategic programmes" in areas such as health-care services and security.

It will also help provide better service to citizens, he added.

Mr Tharman said the Government has "consistently strived to maintain a lean and efficient public service", which includes the ministries and statutory boards.

The 143,000 public-sector employees make up about 4 per cent of Singapore's labour force, or 6.5 per cent of its resident labour force, he said.

The proportion is higher in other countries, he added.

For instance, the corresponding figures are 16 per cent in Australia; 11 per cent in Germany; and 7 per cent in South Korea.

Mr Teo, in addressing the issue of re-employment, said 64 officers - or 6 per cent - were not re-employed when they turned 62 in 2013.

Also, about 1,400 officers were aged 65 and older, out of the 139,400 employees on the payroll in 2013.

Mr Teo said that of the officers who were not re-employed, about nine in 10 did not meet the qualifying criteria of having satisfactory work performance, good conduct and being medically fit.

He also said the public service has no target re-employment rate.

"If a job is available and the officer is not a poor performer or does not have medical problems, the public service agency will offer re-employment."

This article was first published on January 21, 2015.
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