Retrenchments in Singapore hit a record low of 1,300 in the first quarter of 2022 amid a tight labour market, according to advance estimates published by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) on Thursday (April 28).
The figure, which is the lowest since MOM began to collect its current series of retrenchment data in 1998, translates to six retrenched for every 10,000 employees.
This is a far cry from the over 9,000 retrenchments seen in the third quarter of 2020 at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, which saw the services sector hit the hardest as Singaporeans stayed home and tourist numbers dropped drastically.
Employers surveyed by MOM attributed most of the retrenchments, which are down from 1,500 in the previous quarter, to reorganisation or restructuring, said the ministry in a statement accompanying the results.
Of the 1,300, 700 were retrenched in the services sector, 500 in manufacturing and 100 in construction.
While retrenchments in the services sector declined for the sixth consecutive quarter, retrenchments in construction and manufacturing saw a moderate rise from the fourth quarter of 2021 – from 280 to 500 for manufacturing, and from 40 to 100 for construction.
MOM also said in its statement that the labour market report for the first quarter of 2022 is due for release in mid-June, and will provide more details, including job re-entry rates among retrenched residents, among other information to give a fuller picture of employment trends in Singapore for the quarter.
The Straits Times has contacted human resources observers for comment on the retrenchment trends observed.