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Population TrendsFacts and figures on Singapore’s population in 2015

Total population
5.61 million
Population density
7,797per sq km
Median age
40.0 years
Life expectancy at birth
82.7 years1
Gross monthly income
3,949 $2

Source: Department of Statistics and Ministry of Manpower
1 Life expectancy at birth data is for 2015 (preliminary).
2 Income data is median gross monthly income (including employer CPF contributions) of full-time employed Residents, and is for 2015.

Our vision is to ensure social mobility within the Singapore society by providing access to quality education and training, and good job opportunities for Singaporeans to pursue their aspirations. We want our children and subsequent generations to enjoy the benefits of economic growth and to do well in the global economy.

A growing and vibrant economy provides us the means to achieve this vision. This means that Singapore must remain open and attractive for businesses to invest here. We will also ensure that Singaporeans are well equipped, treated fairly in the workplace, and given equal opportunity based on merit.

Economy

Our economy has performed well over the years, despite challenging times, including the bursting of the dot-com bubble (2001), Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) (2003) and the Global Financial Crisis (2008). As the economy continues to mature and local workforce growth slows, we can expect gross domestic product (GDP) growth to moderate.

Given this, productivity growth has become more crucial in our drive to achieve sustainable economic growth, raise real wages and improve the living standards of Singaporeans in years to come.

Business cost is a key consideration for companies and influences Singapore’s overall attractiveness as a business location relative to the rest of Asia and other economies. We want to attract businesses here to create high-value jobs for Singaporeans.

The cost of labour makes up a big part of business cost for companies in the Manufacturing sector. Due to manpower shortage and low productivity gains amidst a sluggish global economy, wage growth has outstripped productivity gains in recent years. This has led to a rise in unit labour cost, which has in turn contributed to an increase in unit business cost for companies. Between 2011 and 2015, the unit business cost index for the Manufacturing sector (UBCI) rose by 2.5% p.a. This underscores the importance of raising productivity in order to ensure that Singapore remains competitive.

Beyond business cost, companies also take into account factors such as the availability of skilled and suitable workers and the conduciveness of the business environment when deciding where to locate. Hence, it is important to continue ensuring these, for Singapore to remain an attractive investment location for high-value added activities, thereby helping to create good jobs for Singaporeans.

Foreign Workforce

Concrete steps have been taken to slow foreign employment growth, and businesses will continue to face a tight labour market. But with the Government’s commitment to support businesses to shift towards higher skills and capital-intensive methods, businesses can continue to grow and succeed here, and in turn create good jobs for Singaporeans.

Local Workforce

We seek to build a strong and quality Singaporean workforce through education and skills upgrading, and encouraging more locals, such as mature workers and women, to stay in the workforce. Our priority is to ensure that Singaporeans continue to enjoy good job opportunities and robust income growth, even amid the tight labour market and slowing economy.

Redundancies have risen in recent years amidst softer economic conditions and ongoing restructuring of the economy. However, the unemployment rate remained low, and job vacancies continued to outnumber job seekers. The Government is working with tripartite partners to strengthen employment support to help displaced locals re-enter employment. Various initiatives have also been rolled out to encourage training and upskilling among locals, for example, the SkillsFuture initiative.

Our resident labour force participation rate (LFPR) – or the proportion of the population who are employed or actively looking for jobs – has increased gradually over the last decade. With more support for flexible work arrangements and childcare options, the LFPR for females has increased faster than that of males. The LFPR at the older ages has also continued to rise with the ongoing efforts to enhance the employability of mature workers.

There has been a sustained increase in the real wage growth at the median and 20th percentile of residents over the last decade. This means that Singaporeans at the lower and middle-income groups are able to enjoy more goods and services.

What could this trend mean for our future?

Our economy is slowing amidst tight labour market and weaker economic conditions. The slowing local labour force growth due to our ageing population could further limit economic growth. It is important to press on with our efforts to raise productivity, up-skill our local workforce, in order to sustain economic growth and real wage growth. With a vibrant economy, we will be able to create good job opportunities, and improve the standards of living for Singaporeans and future generations.