Net increase in foreign PMETs last year

The Straits Times (ST) splashed on the front page today (16 Mar) with the headline, “Fewer foreigners, more locals in workforce last year“.

It reported that the number of foreigners working in Singapore fell by 32,000 last year – the biggest in 15 years, ST said.

However, ST did acknowledge that the decline was mostly due to fewer work permit holders due to weakness in the construction and marine industries.

But on the other hand, it tried to assure local PMETs that the number of foreign PMETs on employment passes (EP) also went down by 4,500.

“This was the first drop (in EP holders) in at least six years,” ST added.

Foreign workforce drops only 1,300 excluding maids and construction workers

The followings are the detail figures provided by the Manpower Ministry:

In fact, it showed that out of the drop of 31,900 in foreign workforce last year (excluding foreign domestic workers), 30,600 (or 96%) came from work permit holders in the construction industry.

So, excluding foreign domestic workers and foreign construction workers, the drop in foreign workforce last year was only 1,300.

And yes, even though EP holders fell by 4,600 using MOM figures, S-Pass holders actually increased by 4,700. So, there was in fact a net increase in the number of foreign PMETs (EP and S-Pass holders) in Singapore.

At present, foreign PMETs need to earn at least $3,600 to obtain EP and $2,200 for S-Pass.

Graduate under-employment rises in Singapore

Meanwhile, Business Times has reported in another article that graduate under-employment is rising in Singapore.

According to NUS, NTU and SMU survey, some 10.6% of recent university graduates said they are in freelance, part-time or temporary jobs – up from 9.7% in 2016.

Also, it has been observed that more young drivers are joining Uber and Grab full time.

For example, about 20 to 30 per cent of GrabCar drivers in Singapore are below 30, although the company’s country head for Singapore, Mr Lim Kell Jay, said in an interview with TODAY last year that an “extremely small” number do it as their primary source of income.

At Uber Singapore, a quarter of its drivers are reported to be below 30, said general manager Warren Tseng.

SIM University labour economist Walter Theseira has cautioned that relying too heavily on driving for a private-hire service could harm a young person’s career prospects in the long term. It does not boost their resumes meaningfully and provides few transferable skills, he added.

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