Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was right in saying that workers need to upgrade their skills to avoid the risk of becoming irrelevant.
But he repeated the mistake his government has been making of late – talking about a tight labour market.
With unemployment high among young graduates and experienced personnel, any talk about a tight labour market does not make much sense.
Perhaps 100% of the young Mandarin-speaking population is employed. Maybe he was referring to that. With Western MNCs pandering to the Chinese, insisting on the ability to speak Mandarin even for roles that require just English-speaking and subject skills, is not uncommon.
As part of his May Day speech, Mr Lee went on to say something that makes me chuckle: “Only in Singapore, you have a Government that is on the side of the workers. But also one that helps businesses to transform and become more competitive.”
He does have a good sense of humour.
Here are some of my past posts that show how such talk is a habit in Singapore.
- Locals stand disadvantaged – https://joslinv.wordpress.com/2016/04/16/so-from-it-to-law-locals-stand-disadvantaged/
- 3% Unemployment in Singapore – https://joslinv.wordpress.com/2015/03/21/2-9-unemployment-in-tiny-singapore-is-not-a-small-number/
- Endless talk of labour crunch – https://joslinv.wordpress.com/2014/05/01/endless-talk-of-a-labour-crunch-even-as-unemployment-among-singaporeans-keeps-climbing/
- Job losses swell – https://joslinv.wordpress.com/2015/04/24/job-losses-swell-so-where-is-the-assumed-labour-crunch/
- Sidestepping key issues – https://joslinv.wordpress.com/2015/02/06/reports-on-singapore-job-market-sidestep-key-issues/
- Education to Employment – https://joslinv.wordpress.com/2015/03/18/education-to-employment-singapore-tilting-towards-foreigners/
G Joslin Vethakumar