Citizen unemployment rate increases while MP Patrick Tay says NTUC will help workers

Photo of Mr Patrick Tay from

by Vincent Low

In the advance release of the Labour Market Report for 2017 by MOM yesterday (26 Jan), it shows that unemployment rates for 2017 has gone up compared to those in 2016.

Followings are the key findings:

  • Overall unemployment rate rose from 2.1% in 2016 to 2.2% in 2017
  • Resident (i.e, including PRs) unemployment rate rose from 3.0% in 2016 to 3.1% in 2017
  • Citizen unemployment rate rose from 3.1% in 2016 to 3.3% in 2017

As can be seen, Singaporean citizens fare the worst. But MOM tried to mitigate by saying that for the month of Dec 2017, the unemployment rate for citizens was lower than a year ago in 2016 – 3.0% in Dec 2017 compared to 3.5% in Dec 2016.

MOM then went on to assure Singaporeans that “local employment growth nearly doubled, while foreign employment declined more compared with 2016”. The decline in foreign employment was mainly due to the decrease in Work Permit Holders in Construction and Marine sectors.

MOM said that local employment (PRs included) grew by an estimated 21,300 (or 0.9%) in 2017, nearly double the growth in 2016. “The increase occurred in most Services sectors, including Community, Social & Personal Services, Financial & Insurance Services, Transportation & Storage and Administrative & Support Services,” it said.

MOM added that job opportunities “remain available” in Manufacturing sectors as well as Services sectors such as Infocomms & Media, Finance & Insurance, Healthcare, Professional Services, Logistics and Wholesale Trade.

Labour MP says NTUC will help workers

Meanwhile, commenting on MOM’s Labour Market Report, NTUC assistant secretary-general and West Coast GRC MP Patrick Tay (BBM) wrote on his Facebook page telling workers to “upgrade” and “upskill” themselves.

“It is crucial for workers to continuously upgrade and up-skill themselves so they can take on the new and in-demand jobs amidst the rapidity of digital and technological disruption,” he said.

He added that NTUC will continue to work closely with the tripartite partners to “support” workers and “help” them to take on new opportunities and progress in their careers.

He concluded his post by throwing in an acronym – the ‘3R’s. He said, “Workers need to stay Ready, Relevant and Resilient – Ready with the In-Demand Skills, Relevant for the New Jobs and Resilient to the New Changes.”

NTUC does set up various organisations like its e2i (Employment and Employability Institute), U PME Centre and U Family to help workers with job placement, job matching, workplace advisory and professional development.”NTUC’s e2i helps to create better jobs and better lives for all working people, from the rank and file to Professionals, Managers and Executives,” its web page said.

“Through various employment coaching, career coaching, employability and skills training programmes, e2i helps them upgrade their capabilities and develop new skills to enhance their value in the workforce and find better jobs.”

E2I is “completely useless”

But people like Mr Chua thought otherwise. He recently wrote to, a support site for the unemployed Singaporeans, saying that e2i is “completely useless”.

He wrote:

“I have been unemployed since year 2015 and actively seeking jobs but in vain. First question that will come to your mind might be how do you manage to stay alive? There is no mistake here, it has been almost 3 years since I was last employed.

I am single, lived with my parents and have always been saving and living a frugal lifestyle, never buy iPhone, Samsung Galaxy or any expensive stuff in general.

I have approached CDAC and e2i (and waited for years) but they are just nice on the outside but otherwise completely useless. I have not asked for dream jobs or any other unreasonable demands. My only requirement is no Sales job, it can be full-time, part-time or contract, I don’t mind.

I have a driving license but have never drive ever since I pass the test more than a decade ago, so I never apply for any jobs that require driving.

I do not know if there is any chance of assisting me in gaining employment. I will not be asking for any financial assistance as I still wish to earn one’s keeps.


Rather than shouting rhetoric like “Ready, Relevant and Resilient” on his Facebook page, perhaps MP Patrick Tay should really go down to the street level to find out why unemployed Singaporeans like Mr Chua thinks NTUC’s e2i is “completely useless”.
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