SOME two in five locals who lost their jobs early this year had found new roles by June 2020, according to data from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) on Monday.
The rate of re-entry into employment for residents retrenched in the first quarter was 39 per cent - slowing from 47 per cent for the cohort laid off in Q1 2018 as at mid-2018.
But the MOM pointed to "a much weaker employment market" and the disruption from the "circuit breaker", to conclude that job prospects for retrenched workers held up despite these challenges.
Manpower Minister Josephine Teo told reporters: “Our observation is that, for PMET (professional, manager, executive and technician) job seekers, it tends to take a longer period of time to get back to work.
"So, in some sense, we were kind of pleasantly surprised that for this group of retrenched workers, somehow their skill sets were deemed to be more transferable by the job market.”
"On the whole, the study found that hiring slowed in Q2 2020 but did not come to a standstill," the MOM added in a statement.
"Despite weaker hiring sentiments, a good number of retrenched workers re-entered employment. (The) majority who found jobs did so relatively quickly and did not experience sizeable pay cuts."
Statistics showed that, among the workers who managed to land new jobs, two in five took pay cuts of 5 per cent or more.
Most of the rehired workers - nearly four in five - stayed in the same profession as before, even though about half of the successful job seekers had to switch industries.
The MOM also expects the latest Jobs Growth Incentive, which provides employers with salary support for new local hires, to boost re-entry efforts for retrenched workers.
Still, the ministry acknowledged that some employers may still need to carry out retrenchments for their businesses to stay viable.
"The government will take active steps to ensure that workers who faced displacements would be able to find alternative employment and get back on their feet quickly," it said.
Mrs Teo added: “The sectors that are still hiring are quite broad-based. Even in a sector like tourism that has been hard-hit, there is hiring.
“So what we found is that the workers, if they keep a very open mind - they don’t mind looking at the sectors they are totally unfamiliar with - opportunities are available to them.”
The latest findings were based on a study of 2,160 retrenched workers.