Less Singaporeans are switching jobs mid-career

Due to a recovering labour market, the number of mid-career Singaporeans who joined programmes to switch fields plunged in 2021.
By: | July 13, 2022

It fell to 5,080 from a record high of 13,580 in 2020 at the height of the pandemic, when many businesses were financially battered and mass layoffs took place as borders closed and curbs were implemented worldwide. 

Career conversion programmes offered by Workforce Singapore (WSG) helped sectors that were heavily impacted by the pandemic in 2020 to reskill workers and avert retrenchments, said the statutory board under the Ministry of Manpower (MOM). In 2019, 5,840 workers joined such programmes.

Last year, a more optimistic labour market that saw borders reopening gradually and the economy showing improvements saw a shift in placements, WSG reported. The top few career conversion programmes were for air transport coordinators, financial services personnel, and hotel professionals.

In the past two years, some 18,660 Singaporeans have taken up programmes to change careers, with more than half of them aged 40 and above.

Of the participants during that period, 44 per cent, or 8,250, were women. The programmes with the highest female participation include those for financial services and early childhood.

Observers said this indicates that not only are women returning to the workforce, but they are also going into sought-after jobs. 

READ: Singapore’s unemployment rate remains low

Low Peck Kem, President of Singapore Human Resources Institute, said it is encouraging to see women taking on more in-demand jobs in the financial services, early childhood and healthcare sectors. 

“These are areas where there will always be a need for more talented and committed workers,” she added, according to The Straits Times.