But some Companies are Using Freelancers
Technology has permeated every aspect of life in Singapore, giving it the wherewithal and potential to become the world’s first smart nation.
But there is one area where the country is still old-fashioned — JOBS.
Why Not BPO!: Most of the foreigners in Singapore hold white-collar jobs that could be easily outsourced. Companies in the West have been tapping the concept of Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) for roles that do not require an in-country presence.
Even an Outsourcing World Summit is being held the last 18 years not just to source business but also to articulate the value to industry through the BPO idea. The 18th edition of the Summit is currently under way in Phoenix, USA – http://www.iaop.org/summit.
So what is stopping companies in Singapore from embracing that full-scale? Simply because they have been able to flood the country with foreigners! They can hire cheap labour from developing countries. But that is only one part of the gambit. The other is MNCs being able to bring in people from their parent countries facing unemployment issues.
Cramming Singapore to Prop up Economy: And why is Singapore allowing that? Having people on site in Singapore does prop up the economy as they earn here, spend here and pay their taxes here. That said, there are foreigners holding employment passes and permanent residence but are posted overseas on assignments.
While companies love to whine about an acute shortage of local talent, if that is true, why aren’t they relying on freelancers who are based worldwide?
Freelancers, an Alternative Labour Pool: A report in today’s edition of The Straits Times points out the some companies are indeed using freelancers to the extent possible, thereby saving on costs since they do not have to pay CPF and give them insurance benefits.
That is encouraging even if Singapore freelancers have to compete with those based overseas. If there is such talent available locally they will not have to look beyond our shores. So it is a level-playing field with no prejudice against locals!
Immigration Must be Based on Genuine Needs: In a recent post on the glut of foreign engineers in Singapore amid the global shift to offshoring, I had argued against overpopulating the country and make life more difficult for its citizens. I must reiterate that again here – let immigration be based on genuine needs and not imagined ones.
I hope the government does not get carried away by what people like Victor Mills have been doing – ridiculing Singaporeans with a broad brush and suggesting that some small companies are closing shop here and moving to neighbouring countries because there is not enough talent here for them to do business.
The Straits Times‘ Insane Tirade: Even as Singapore has been very liberal with immigration, The Straits Times keeps coming up with insane pieces on how there is a lack of adequate professional talent in Singapore and how businesses are having trouble hiring people from overseas.
One such recent piece from its Editor, Warren Fernandez, even argued how Singapore was paying the price of closing the doors to foreigners. The common perception is, and I agree with it, that Singapore is paying the price of keeping the door too wide open for foreigners.
But then gibberish is a regular staple of The Straits Times.
This is the Golden Jubilee year of Singapore (SG50) and it is my wish that reports sidestepping key issues are not relied upon and the Government stays in touch with ground realities. Rosy data on the job market generally only skim the surface.
Singaporeans need a better quality of life here, and that cannot happen with unbridled growth in imported labour and overpopulation.
G Joslin Vethakumar