A total of 1,270 staff at technology firms in Singapore were laid off from July to mid-November this year, mirroring the employment situation at tech businesses across the world.
This figure represents a major increase from the first half of the year, where only 260 staff were laid off, according to figures released by Manpower Minister Tan See Leng.
Most of the workers let go were young, with around 70% being aged under 35 and 80% had jobs in non-tech areas such as sales and marketing. Companies like Twitter, Facebook and Shopee are some of the firms that made the decision to fire staff in recent months.
“Retrenchment numbers over the past five years have been relatively low, at an average of 790 resident workers per year,” said Dr Tan. “Based on available labour market data, 260 residents were retrenched in the first half of this year, as compared to the increase of 7,000 residents employed in the sector.”
The Taskforce for Responsible Retrenchment and Employment Facilitation is working with tech staff who were laid off to offer support into new jobs. In the past, these attempts have been successful with 70% of people making use of the Taskforce’s support last year finding a new job within six months.
It’s unlikely that the trend for layoffs in the technology sector across the world will slow down anytime soon, as fears of recession and falling investor confidence are leading to difficult choices being made around staffing numbers. In the wider Singapore economy, the number of job vacancies is increasing and is expected to help mitigate some of the job losses in the technology sector.
“Taken together, this reflects that there is strong absorptive capacity across the larger economy and opportunities for affected workers to fill in-demand roles,” said Dr Tan.
Job vacancies in the information and communications sector rose from 11,100 in December 2021 to 12,100 in June 2022, which is triple the 3,800 vacancies available in June 2020.