Category Archives: Singapore Population

Population Staying Stable is Good News!

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.

20170927-overall-population-in-2016

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.

Go Offshore

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

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Filed under Overpopulation in Singapore, Singapore Population

Singaporeans are a Tolerant, Generous and Welcoming Lot!!

Or is it Complacence or Short-Sightedness or Fear of Whatever?

Foreigners take over their university places, particularly in key disciplines that are in demand.

“No problem! We still have fun. What if we cannot go to universities, we have Gardens by the Bay, cinemas, malls, Sentosa and pubs. No one can take such fun away from us.”

Foreign mediocrity leaves them behind on the employment landscape.

“Oh, stop blowing up the situation, we love to see them kick us out! And don’t we have the Jobs Bank where employers will need to post an opening and just wait for two weeks before they can shortchange us and hire foreigners?”

What $200,000 on Degrees Cannot Achieve, a $500 SkillsFuture Credit Will!

What about the Manpower Minister saying unemployment could rise in the country as quoted in the media today?

 “That’s a load of rubbish. It is just around 3% – or so say the reports! We don’t know if he is downplaying or overplaying, it may be much more! Also, isn’t the government giving us a hefty $500 as Skills Future credit when spending a paltry $200,000 or more in gaining degrees is not enough to get jobs?”

Dipping Quality of Life

Overpopulation because of the imports has destroyed the high quality of life so much so that Singapore is now just like any congested Third-World country.

“Ha, come on, doesn’t more people in the country make the Government rich? And isn’t that a sign of the new world economy where governments and businesses thrive and people — mere dispensable commodities? The more-the-merrier philosophy is fun.”

The IssuesCountry First for U.S., U.K., Australia and New Zealand

From the U.S. and the U.K. to Australia and New Zealand, globalisation has taken a deep hit, leaving foreigners there and aspirants hoping to strike gold there in disenchantment.

A liberal culture in those countries, thanks to their clamour for diversity, prevalent there for ages has seen local interests erode rapidly, making their Governments launch a “Country First” policy, rightly so.

But Singapore does not appear to be perturbed. Even diploma holders from overseas are easily finding jobs here when local degree holders struggle to land one. Moreover, they are from countries where their own reports have pointed to the unemployability of the bulk of even their degree-qualified engineers. A recent report even said that 95% of their engineers are unfit to be software developers.

Interestingly, today’s media reports suggest that the Smart Nation initiatives in Singapore are on track.

“To hell with robots, drones, Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things all of which will make jobs for humans even more difficult. Isn’t the “Foreigner First” policy designed to address that? Designing robots, that is! But the Government knows best”

No STEM education and no jobs, so perhaps social security/unemployment doles and free healthcare are in place to take care of citizen needs.

“That is the biggest joke of the day. Don’t you know such measures will impoverish the Government and drain it of its cash reserves?”

40% of Singapore Residents Foreigners, it is only 20% in U.S.

Importantly, the U.S. and other countries that are looking inward are very large in size with plenty of room to take on foreigners. But population density in Singapore is among the highest in the world.

Moreover, in the U.S., for instance, only around 20% of the population comprises foreigners. In Singapore, it is 40% (or more) and still growing.

“We don’t care even if it becomes 100%, with the overly foreigner-friendly climate driving all Singaporeans to other countries. Don’t disturb the life of harmony and affluence in the tiny red dot. The Government is on the dot every time and with everything, so it can go wrong!”

What faith!

As can be seen from this imaginary conversation with Singaporeans, faith in the establishment is good for the Government. For its constituents?

G Joslin Vethakumar

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Filed under Singapore job scene, Singapore Population

Singapore sets up Population Centre While Businesses Go Digital to Slash Workforce

Is Country Missing the Scarier Picture Where Jobs will be Scarce?

In its anxiety to boost immigration and Singapore’s population, the government has been consistently making a pitch for just that.

Grace FuThat came out loud and clear yet again two days ago when Ms Grace Fu, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, pointed out that Singapore’s citizen population by 2060 will shrink to that of the early 1990s if the country’s low birth rates persist and it shuts its doors to immigration.

To me, that will be good news and an ideal scenario as the early 1990s were when Singapore was at its best in terms of the quality of life for its citizens.

Scarier future when Digital Technology will Eliminate Jobs, Enable Greater Efficiency

I don’t think there is anything to dread if the population takes a dip. What is looming is a scarier future. There is a real danger of the country getting crammed with people at a breakneck pace and the labour market shrinks.

With increased focus on Artificial Intelligence (AI) / robotics, digital technology, services automation, Internet of Things (IoT) / Internet of Everything (IoE) and outsourcing, businesses are globally expected to slash the workforce significantly within the next decade or so. Automation will hit the BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) sector too.

Go Digital or Die: Chambers

Cisco Systems CEO John Chambers has even gone to the extent of saying that “that almost half of today’s enterprises won’t exist in a few years unless they embrace the digital revolution.

john_chambersCisco is also going bolder and bolder in software, with nine out of its last 10 acquisitions being software or cloud-based companies. With application services, businesses will be able to cut down on staff-related costs.

Speaking at a Partner summit yesterday. Mr Chambers said: “You don’t see us as a software company? Don’t bet against us (in software). In five years we will take that market together,” he told them.

Cutting Reliance on Labour

While Singapore has been busy setting up a population centre and devising methods to increase the fertility rate and bring in “foreign talent”, businesses are setting up innovation centres to tap automation, artificial intelligence and other such measures that will reduce their reliance on labour.

For instance, just this week Wipro announced that it expected to reduce its workforce by 30% within the next three years. Wipro, a major global IT services company, currently employs more than 150, 000 people, hopes to tap technology and the other factors mentioned above.

Most IT majors are already slashing their workforce in a big way.

Keep-Good-Relationships-With-All
Prof Hawking, Bill Gates See AI Threat to Mankind

Facebook has even developed a test that can help determine the intelligence level of AI software. The test will identify if a robot can perform a task as good as a human.

AI is a clear threat to labour, as scientists and experts, including Stephen Hawking and Bill Gates, have been warning of late.

Mr Hawking had warned earlier that AI could spell the end of the human race. “Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn’t compete, and would be superseded,” he had told BBC earlier this year.

Hawking

Mr Gates also wonders why humans are not worried about the threat posed by AI to mankind.

Why is Singapore missing this big picture even while remaining bent on boosting the country’s population by hook or by crook?

My earlier post on how AI can Surpass Human Intellect – https://joslinv.wordpress.com/2014/12/27/artificial-intelligence-can-surpass-human-intellect-lead-to-destruction/

G Joslin Vethakumar

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Filed under Singapore Population, Technology Threat to Labour