The Singapore Government appears to be finally getting serious about dealing with challenges in the employment landscape.
The actions it has initiated include:
- Putting 250 firms on watch-list for unfair employment practices
- Help for PMETs, retrenched workers
- Attach and Train scheme
- Career Support Programme
Beyond Superficial Stipulations
All are laudable initiatives that are bound to resonate well with Singaporeans as well as the employers.
This is particularly so because they go beyond earlier superficial, peripheral plans such as the Jobs Bank under which openings for high-paying jobs had to be first advertised there. It is only if employers are unable to find suitable local candidates they can apply for an Employment Pass (EP).
I don’t think that is working well as employers favourably disposed to bringing in foreigners can trot out any number of excuses to justify their preference.
The new initiatives show the Government is ready to inject more funds towards helping Singaporeans find jobs and towards supporting businesses attuned to them.
Can Go Easy on Granting PR While Getting Tough on New EPs
I find that the Government has made the granting of permanent residence (PR) very stringent. The Government can get a little more lenient, with necessary vetting, to win the loyalty of PR applicants as they are already here on Employment Passes (EP).
Where the Government must be strict is on issuing new EPs and restrict any influx of more new foreigners and making the already overpopulated country even more crowded.
Once employers find it difficult to get new EPs they will automatically consider hiring suitably qualified locals without any age or race prejudices.
But I am not seeing any big effort in ensuring young graduates find a footing even as they step out their institutions. Campus recruitments will perhaps need to be strengthened.
Also, for entry-level positions, I still see even multinational companies cite Mandarin as a necessity. That is, even for roles that require no knowledge of Mandarin for day-to-day functional work.
It may be difficult to quell that as even if Mandarin is not mentioned as a requirement in job ads, the employers can still choose to enforce that in the hiring process without any scrutiny.
G Joslin Vethakumar