Rising Unemployment in Singapore

Based on statistics from the Unemployment Summary Table released by Ministry of Manpower (MOM), the unemployment rate in Singapore has been more or less consistent since 2011. However, the unemployment has increased last year, and has been continuing to rise throughout 2017.

There are various reasons as to why unemployment may have been increasing. Firstly, with the advance in technologies, many jobs have been automatized, with workers being replaced by machines. With machinery as a substitute supply, it is obvious that the demand for workers would drop.

Another reason as to why unemployment is increasing is the increase in qualifications of many people over the years. This would cause the supply of labor to increase in terms of quality meaning the employers can easily substitute employees with another since they have equally or higher qualifications and qualities than them. This saturation and large supply in high skilled labour paired with many workers with employees refusing to do more basic jobs have resulted in an increase of unemployment.

With employees being able to replace workers so easily, they can retrench workers as they wish. However, this is an externality that will not lead to a social optimum. As such, perhaps the government could step in by ensuring contracts are well drafted and employees are given ample time to find a new job.

However, there is only so much the government can do to assist unemployed individuals. Singaporeans need to put up a united front to curb the problem of unemployment; as said by the Prime Minister, “as long as we work together, S’pore can stay in the game (May 2).” All citizens need to play an active role to overcome unemployment.

Both employers and employees need to accommodate to each other’s need. Employees may have to compromise and work in fields different from the one’s they are educated in. Identifying jobs that are in demand and taking vocational training will enhance on the job technical skills which may in turn increase chances of employability. Employers need to be more considerate while dealing with their employees; laying off employees without a valid reason and a prior notice should be avoided. While it may not be in everyone’s self interest to act in this way, it would lead to greater economic welfare on average for the whole of Singapore.


Vindhya Burugupalli
A.S.S. Contributor

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