2 cents worth on the recent comprehensive labour workforce survey

On 23rd May 2014, Ministry of Manpower (MOM) announced that its Manpower Research and Statistics Department will be conducting the Comprehensive Labour Force Survey from 23 May to 31 July 2014 on a sample of 33,000 households. The purpose of the annual survey as stated by the ministry is to collect data on employment, unemployment and other economic characteristics of the population to help in the planning and formulation of manpower-related policies and programmes.

The ministry assured that confidentiality of the information obtained from the survey will be secured under the the Statistics Act (Chapter 317). At the same time, the Act requires households selected for the survey to provide MOM with the necessary information. 

A reader wrote in to TOC and shared her experience on the survey conducted by MOM.


I would like to have a better understanding from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and to give my 2 cents worth on the recent comprehensive labour workforce survey that was conducted on my family household.

From your brief and vague write up on the requirement of this survey, I understand that the agenda is to develop better working policies for the benefit of employees for our nation – simply put.

I am not sure if the selected household is shortlisted randomly or selected on so basis. I can’t comprehend why the measurement is done on per household, instead of individuals?

I find it particularly ironic that the letter says information given will be kept confidential while I have to share the information with my family members.

While I try to fill up the survey reluctantly since “I will be committing an offense” (that’s the interpretation of your letter). If I don’t, I get really impatient with the questions as I have to answer questions on individual income, to the bonus and to the details of the employee welfare of each family member.

I gave up.

Other than not able to answer the questions on behalf of my parents, I do not see the value of the accuracy of the whole survey. And, I wonder if we are all supposed to declare our individual income to the family members? Base on the current era, couples might not even reveal the real income to their spouse, but in the eyes of the law, we are deem to do that to our parents or other family members? And we would be penalize if we don’t…. Very interesting.

I didn’t manage to fill up the survey according to the deadline since I just got back after away for a few weeks, and my folks at home obviously has no idea what is your letter about at all. One of your temp staff called me the next day to remind me. I was ready to co-operate with him to share my “confidential” data with him, just to get it over and done with. It was very obvious he was a temp staff who is not professional and has no much knowledge whatever he is doing.

But I don’t blame the poor guy.

Your training was obviously inadequate. To the extent he has to press me for a designation to fit your “pre-designed” category of designations. I told him my actual title was an “account manager” and he throw me a few “managerial” titles which none fits in obviously. I told him I leave it to him to decide, but I do my part by telling him my JD ( corporate sales ). And he proposed, “how about administrative manager”? It totally doesn’t gel with what I am doing, but I really don’t care because I don’t think you guys really care about the accuracy of the data anyway?

Base on the questions in the survey, can I suggest you can easily obtain the data from the human resources of the companies and would save resources on your end, and save the hassle from the surveyees as well. More importantly, accuracy of the data would be so much better.

While it seems like an important survey to carry out for the betterment of the people, I doubt the effort that’s put in to analyse the data.

My 2 cents worth.