Fewer job seekers, more job openings in third quarter of 2013

PHOTO: Fewer job seekers, more job openings in third quarter of 2013

SINGAPORE - Amid low unemployment and continued strong job growth, there were fewer job seekers and more job vacancies in the third quarter of 2013, according to latest figures released by the Manpower Ministry on Friday.

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Singapore's Ministry of Manpower released detailed unemployment data for the third quarter of 2013 on Friday:

(per cent, seasonally adjusted)

Q3/13    Q2/13    Q1/13     Q4/12      Q3/12

1.8         2.1           1.9           1.8             1.9

The final third quarter jobless rate was unchanged from the preliminary estimate of 1.8 per cent.

Total employment rose by 33,100 in the third quarter of 2013, slightly below the gains of 33,700 in the previous quarter but higher than the 26,200 in the third quarter of 2012. This brought total employment to 3,453,300 in September 2013, 4.2 per cent higher than a year ago.

Seasonally adjusted job vacancies rose in the third quarter over the second quarter by 5.9 per cent, after declining 5.1 per cent in the second quarter.

Employment growth in Singapore has been affected by government measures that make it tougher for firms to hire low-cost foreign workers amid a fierce backlash from citizens.

Country Director of recruitment agency Randstad Singapore, Mr Michael Smith, today commented on the latest MOM report.

"The unemployment rate for Singapore citizens has declined from 3.1 per cent in the second quarter to 2.8 per cent this quarter. This demonstrates the success of the Government's effort to develop a Singaporean core workforce," he said.

"To ensure the competitiveness of local talent, it is important for both the Government and businesses to provide relevant training and up-skilling opportunities to employees, especially in industries that face the challenge of acute talent shortage, such as life sciences and technology," Mr Smith further noted.

According to Randstad's latest Workmonitor Report Q4 2013, nearly seven in ten people surveyed said they expect the economic situation in Singapore to further improve in 2014. "Therefore, it is not surprising to see companies are hiring to drive their business forward," he said.

"To tackle the ongoing challenge of talent shortage, I encourage all businesses to proactively establish and develop their employer brand in an effort to attract and retain talent. Employer branding helps to raise an organisation's visibility in the job market and make it stand out from the competition. It also helps to enhance employee loyalty by increasing their identification with the company and reducing turnover," said Mr. Smith.

For MOM's full report, go to http: www.mom.gov.sg

(Additional reporting by Masayuki Kitano from Reuters; Editing by Rachel Armstrong)