Singapore Can Do More to Fight All forms of isms – Racism, Ageism and More
The modest growth in population is good news indeed. It will have been better if there was a decline in population rather than just in growth.
The population stands at 5.61 million, according to media reports quoting statistics from the National Population and Talent Division (NPTD). In its annual Population in Brief report, released on September 27, the growth was just 0.1%.
The report also noted that the ageing population (citizens aged 65 and above) increased from 13.7 per cent to 14.4 per cent.
There were other reports which touched on how manpower shortage could hit businesses. To me, any talk about a labour crunch is just overblown sentiment. It is not brain surgeons or rocket scientists from across the shores they look for. It is largely routine resourcing.
Long Learning Curve
If firms show an unwillingness to hire locals and provide necessary training they have to bear the consequences. After all, even the foreigners they hire are not productive from day 1. In fact, they go through a long learning curve.
Businesses screaming manpower gap trouble are just looking for escape routes that suit their palatability aligned with their own workforce preferences.
The onus is on them to make the best out of available talent, showing an inclination towards equipping them with role-specific capabilities.
Or, they can tap skills offshore, given that most of the jobs going to foreigners are desk-based positions. If even in a smart and connected world firms are unable to use virtual teams they are just not being creative enough.
Breeding Evils – Racism, Ageism and Mediocrity
Foreign “Talent” (FT) quietly breed evils such as racism, ageism and fanaticism. I often hear comments against sections of the workforce they are threatened by – the young and old alike. The workplace is not a boxing arena for trading punches and withstanding strenuous physical activity.
When locals go without jobs, losing out to foreign mediocrity, there is a risk of revolt which can seriously affect harmony among the resident population.
There are MNCs who still make Mandarin mandatory for jobs that do not require specific language skills.
The only way to fight all -isms in Singapore is by trimming the population significantly. Women, young local graduates struggling for a break and even 50+ people can then be meaningfully employed by businesses.
Importantly, a less dense Singapore will translate to a better quality of life with little congestion. Economic prosperity alone does not define high-quality living.
G Joslin Vethakumar