The number of jobs that went to foreigners fell to 3,800 in the second quarter of 2014, its lowest level since Q3 2009 when 700 jobs were created for foreign workers, according to a recent statement from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) on labour market developments for the first six months of the year.
The decline in foreign hiring contributed to lower year-on-year total employment growth of 3.8 percent in Q2 2014.
But the hiring of Singaporeans remained robust with 4.2 percent growth year-on-year in local employment in June 2014, supported by the greater participation of women and the elderly in the jobs market.
Meanwhile, there were 41,000 jobs created for Singapore citizens in H1 2014 while a total of 52,000 hires took place during that period, excluding foreign domestic workers.
Going forward, MOM said that Singapore will continue to face a manpower lean environment.
“The key to firms coping with tighter labour market conditions and sustaining higher wages is through productivity. More needs to be done to raise productivity, most critically in the construction sector, as well as the more manpower-intensive industries within the services sector,” the ministry said.
To boost building productivity, the government is looking at further measures to improve the quality of construction workers.
On a positive note, the unemployment rate here remains low. The seasonally-adjusted citizen unemployment rate was 2.9 percent in Q2, down from three percent in Q1 2014.