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47 firms added to MOM’s watchlist for suspected discriminatory hiring practices against Singaporeans

SINGAPORE — At one wealth management firm here, almost three-quarters of its professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) are of the same nationality. The scenario is similar at another company from the financial services sector — a bank — where almost two-thirds of its PMETs are of the same nationality.

47 firms added to MOM’s watchlist for suspected discriminatory hiring practices against Singaporeans

The Ministry of Manpower warned that it will be “extra vigilant” against unfair hiring to ensure that Singapore jobseekers are treated fairly, especially during these challenging times.

  • Fair Consideration Framework watchlist was introduced in 2016 to identify employers suspected of having “discriminatory hiring practices”
  • Of the 47 firms, 30 are in the financial services and professional services sectors
  • A number of these employers have exceptionally high shares of foreign PMETs compared to their industry peers
  • MOM said that it will be “extra vigilant” against unfair hiring to ensure that local jobseekers are treated fairly

 

SINGAPORE — At one wealth management firm here, almost three-quarters of its professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) are of the same nationality. The scenario is similar at another company from the financial services sector — a bank — where almost two-thirds of its PMETs are of the same nationality.

The two firms are among 47 employers here that have been placed on the Fair Consideration Framework (FCF) watchlist under the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), because they are suspected to have engaged in “discriminatory hiring practices”.

In a press release on Wednesday (Aug 5), MOM said that this adds to a list of 1,200 employers that the ministry has scrutinised since 2016.

The watchlist was introduced then to identify employers suspected of having discriminatory hiring practices.

Employers are placed on the watchlist if they have an exceptionally high share of foreign PMETs compared to their peers in the industry, or have a high concentration of PMETs from a single nationality.

MOM said that the 47 employers will have their employment pass applications closely scrutinised, and those who are recalcitrant or uncooperative will have their work pass privileges cut back.

An employment pass allows foreign professionals, managers and executives to work in Singapore. Candidates need to earn at least S$3,900 a month and have acceptable qualifications.

Of the 47 firms, 30 are in the financial services and professional services sectors while the remaining 17 are in sectors such as administrative and support services, manufacturing and education.

A CLOSER LOOK AT THE FIRMS

The 47 employers are of various sizes, with the largest employing close to 2,000 PMETs.

Collectively, they hire some 2,000 employment pass holders and more than 2,800 resident PMETs, MOM said.

Employers that were taken to task include banks and fund managers as well as management consulting companies and firms that provide project management and engineering services.

Eighteen firms have foreigners comprising more than half of their PMET workforce, “significantly higher compared to their industry peers”, MOM said.

All 30 employers from the financial services and professional services sectors that are on the list have a high concentration of PMETs from single nationalities.

Aside from the 47 employers on the watchlist, MOM is also investigating another 240 firms.

The ministry said that it has scrutinised more than 1,200 employers under its framework since 2016.

“In all, 3,200 employment pass applications have been rejected or withheld by MOM, or withdrawn by employers. Over the same time period, employers on the FCF watchlist have hired more than 4,800 Singaporean PMETs,” it said.

'UNABLE TO FIND LOCAL WORKERS' 

With the addition of the 30 employers from the financial services and professional services sectors to the watchlist on Wednesday, MOM said that about 190 firms from the industry have been scrutinised since 2016.

In its initial engagement with these employers, the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (Tafep) found that they were often not familiar with the skillset of Singapore jobseekers, and the Government’s support measures to help resident workers reskill and upskill.

“For example, some firms claimed that they were unable to find local workers with the required expertise or experience, including for more technical roles such as senior software engineers and UX designers, when they had not cast their net wide enough, such as by tapping Professional Conversion Programmes,” MOM said.

The ministry added that through Tafep’s intervention, most employers reviewed their hiring practices to give resident jobseekers a fair chance.

Of the 190 employers from these two sectors that were placed on the FCF watchlist, more than 100 have since been withdrawn from the list after demonstrating strong commitment to improve their hiring practices.

MOM warned that it does not tolerate unfair hiring practices and will be “extra vigilant” against unfair hiring to ensure that resident jobseekers are treated fairly, especially during these challenging times.

“We urge members of the public to report specific instances of discriminatory behaviour online for investigation. MOM and Tafep take all complaints seriously and will keep the identity of whistleblowers confidential,” the ministry said.

“Employers found to have breached fair hiring requirements will be barred from hiring or renewing foreign workers for up to two years, and may face prosecution if they made false declarations on fair consideration.”

Related topics

Employment Pass discrimination job MOM Tafep Fair Consideration Framework

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