Rules for hiring locals, foreigners should be balanced, say industry players
SINGAPORE — New employment rules that could require firms here to explore more avenues to hire locals before foreigners are expected to be announced soon.
Union leaders said the framework will aim to ensure fair consideration is given to Singaporeans first, while industry players that spoke to Channel NewsAsia are hoping for fair and sensible rules that will not make it any more onerous for companies to find talent.
Foreigners now make up a third of Singapore’s total workforce and there has been growing concern that employers are by-passing locals and hiring foreigners instead.
A spokesperson from the Manpower Ministry said while that a sizeable number of participants at one of its Our Singapore Conversation session felt that the playing field is somewhat uneven between Singaporeans and foreigners for job opportunities, most recognised the need for foreigners to augment our local workforce.
The ministry added some participants also felt that there is a need to ensure that Singaporean fresh graduates are not disadvantaged when competing with foreigners at the Professional, Manager and Executive (PME) level.
The labour movement, too, has its concerns.
Mr Patrick Tay, director of legal services departments and PME Unit at the National Trades Union Congress, said: “I’ve met many of these local PMEs in various sectors and they have shared with me personally their stories. One particular story is where this IT professional - highly qualified, great credentials - working in quite a large company, sharing with me about his grievance. He was given a golden handshake and asked to leave the company. Subsequently after he left the company, his fellow ex-colleagues shared that a foreigner was hired to take over his position.
“There are also cases where in terms of hiring practices ... that certain hiring managers belonging to certain nationalities may hire people from the same nationality.”
It is hoped that a Fair Consideration framework will address this.
Industry players said it could take the form of advertising such as making it mandatory for employers to advertise vacancies for a stipulated time-frame, to give locals enough time to apply for the job.