Employment in COVID-19: The Impact of Coronavirus in Singapore

Nearly 20,000 people lost their jobs in the first quarter of 2020 in Singapore as a result of the pandemic. COVID-19 affected employment rates as they dropped to an all-time low, and the situation was even worse than the 2008-2009 global financial crisis.

Jobs in Singapore were hard to find, especially for those belonging to a middle to lower class income rate. They were already vulnerable due to the lack of financial resources such as savings and investments, and the pandemic made their scenario a whole lot worse. They had no cushion that could save them from the financial blow losing their jobs was going to bring to their lives.

What has been done about the COVID-19 employment scenario in Singapore?

The Singapore government aligned their objectives with the unions and employers to form a unified front in order to manage the COVID-19 employment crisis and help Singaporeans and permanent residents maintain their source of livelihood, or find better jobs in Singapore.

The partnership that built over time between these three parties helped save a lot of jobs as well as reduce the financial losses many organizations faced to retain their employees. The Singapore government also launched a number of schemes to help those who were unemployed and provide them with some source of income for their livelihoods. Along with these measures, there were a lot of upskilling programmes that were launched that could help those who have been displaced in the COVID-19 employment fiasco find alternate sources of income.

What are the alternative jobs in Singapore for displaced professionals?

The NTUC, which is the National Trades Union Congress, created multiple opportunities for unemployed professionals to create new sources of income. The primary goal was to redirect the Singapore economy in 2021 and improve the employment rate in a COVID-19 affected world.

Since there was a scarcity of jobs in Singapore due to the weakened hiring market, middle to low wage incomes had to take up various Professional Conversion Programmes (PCPs) in order to switch to more profitable careers. Over the last year alone, there were more than 6,200 professionals who joined these programmes. These included the PMETs (Professionals, Managers, Executives and Technicians).

The industries that increased their demand drastically in the last year included logistics, manufacturing and education. Those who went through the PCPs were offered structured training as well as on-the-job experience to help increase the employment during the COVID-19 pandemic and re-employ displaced workers. These opportunities are extremely beneficial to workers who were employed in industries that were the most affected like tourism and retail.

There are currently 100 PCPs offered in more than 30 sectors.

What is the Singapore economy in 2021 and how are the Singaporeans responding to these changes?

There is no denying that COVID-19 affected the employment rate in Singapore drastically. This was a global phenomenon where millions were displaced, and the economic backlash from the pandemic will take a while to recover. Programmes launched in Singapore are helping the Singapore economy recover in 2021, and the citizens and permanent residents are feeling more optimistic.

The Singaporeans who are currently employed are still feeling as threatened as they were in 2020 with job security being one of their biggest factors of concern. Although this may paint a bleak picture, the overall trust in the Singapore economy in 2021 is growing.

A report released by IPS (Institute of Policy Studies) noted that the number of people who believed that the Singapore economy in 2021 would continue to drop was significantly lower than last year. 42% of the respondents believed that the jobs in Singapore and COVID-19 affected employment rate would continue to drop in the next six months, as compared to 80% in May 2020.

Most citizens are fairly confident that they would either pursue a change in career if they were let go this year or choose to work at a lower pay grade in order to make ends meet. The vaccination drives and opening up of the global economy is sure to have a positive impact on the current state of Singapore economy in 2021. The only certain thing in these uncertain times is that there are newer job opportunities in Singapore available, and ways to access these job roles are present as well.

COVID-19 employment
Jobs in Singapore
Singapore economy 2021