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MOM Releases Breakdown of PMET Data Sparking Healthy Debate Online

Following request from MPs to provide data concerning the breakdown of Professionals, Managers, Executives & Technicians (PMETs) by industries and residential status, the Ministry of Manpower released data for the past decade (2010 to 2019).

MOM

The Online Citizen in their review outlined that the data showed the proportion of SG PMETs decreasing in most industries over the past 10 years. The breakdown of figures showed the total number of PMETs working in Singapore increased from 1.25 to 1.70 million (a 36% increase) from 2010 to 2019. The data also showed that the proportion of Singaporeans among the total number of PMETs working here decreasing from 64.2% to 61.7% while that of foreigners (including PRs) increasing from 35.8% to 38.3% during the past decade.

Discussions on reddit noted that Singaporean share in PMET workforce had a downward trend from 2010 to 2014, followed by a much gentler upward trend from 2015 to 2019:

  • 2010: 64.2%
  • 2011: 62.5%
  • 2012: 61.0%
  • 2013: 60.6%
  • 2014: 60.4%
  • 2015: 60.7%
  • 2016: 61.0%
  • 2017: 61.0%
  • 2018: 61.6%
  • 2019: 61.7%

Contributor Justastatistic pointed out that what matters is that Singaporeans were able to move from non-PMET jobs to PMET jobs and achieving wage growth. He felt that there should not be a zero-sum approach toward the data. The number of PMET jobs are not finite and a foreigner does not have to ‘lose’ for a Singaporean to ‘win’. He felt that just because foreigners got a higher absolute number of PMET jobs doesn’t mean Singapore citizens are losing out.

Some readers also pointed out that if the data was viewed from 2013, there was in fact a 1.1% increase in Singaporean share of the PMET workforce.

Discussions also touched on the impact of declining birth rates and that the data however showed continued increases in citizen workforce. User ‘Dawnfire999’, however, pointed out that the official Total Fertility Rate for 2019 is 1.12; the rate for 2000 was around 1.4 and suggested that this is the group which would be entering workforce at this present moment. He also added that as the data was representative of the PMET workforce, the rise in Singaporean numbers could also be a result of an increasing trend of more local graduates taking up PMET roles. This could be seen in the non-PMET numbers which would display an inverse trend with fewer Singaporeans in such roles.

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