Support Site for The Unemployed & Underemployed
Sunday October 26th 2014

Local job market over-taken by foreign talents

Hello Gilbert,

I am aware of  the “Support Singaporeans First” campaign and what you and others are trying to do is commendable  but I wonder what really is the root of the problem.  

I think the truth could be in between but  our government is not going deep enough (or take an easy way) to identify the problem but took an easy “one stroke” approach instead of micro managing the problem. Hence we end up with situations of employers having problem  hiring Singaporeans and at the same time there are Singaporeans who are displaced by foreigners.

As you know,  I have problem all along trying to hire Singaporeans. And this  problem existed since 5 years ago in spite of numerous advertisements  and even tweaking our advertisement to less stringent requirements – we simply did not  receive any single application from locals!

Now I would like to share with you what I’ve encountered recently which is disturbing.

Our condo recently changed a new Managing Agent and today I met our condo’s estate manager and chatted with him for a while.  Immediately I realised he is a FT from China.  Don’t know if he is a PR on working permit or a new citizen. I guess he is in his early 30s.  One can tell he is an FT not only from the accent when he speaks English but he don’t seem to understand the crux of my question when I asked him about a matter concerning our estate.

Other than the above I also met 2 other FTs and am quite surprised when they came knocking at my door. As I need to send some personal effects and furniture overseas over to my son,  three   mover companies came separately to assess the amount of  things we have to shift over.

Out of the three who came, 2 were ang mohs.

One was  a German and the other a New Zealander. Both are about in their 30s.

I would describe their job as ‘Sales Representative” of cargo forwarding/shipping agents. Though I did not ask –  I believe  these men are still single i.e. not having families here.

Meeting these 3 FTs really makes me wonder what is happening to Singapore.

I guess the Chinese estate manager  is probably paid  at least SGD 3k a mth if not more and the other 2 Ang Mohs  are  probably paid at least SGD 4 or 5K a month if not more and I am surprised why are these positions not filled by true blue Singaporeans?

As far as I know the skill sets that’s required by these FTs to do their respective jobs are not that specialised that an ordinary Singaporean with say a High school or Polytechnic educational level cannot do. So is it a case of shortage of Singaporeans or  employers preferring not to employ Singaporeans?

I personally believe that these FTs (the above I met)  would be getting paid something like $3000 to 5000 a month if not more and I also believe no employers would want to hire them unless they have very rare skill sets or their remuneration package is lower than a local.

Thus,  it’s either there are no Singaporeans to take up these jobs or Singaporeans filling the above positions are demanding much more than  5K a month otherwise why would employers want to hire these FTs?

Then comes the next question.

Is it justifiable for Singaporeans (someone in their 30s and  most probably married) to expect to be paid more than 3K or 5K per month for  the above positions?   

I have no statistics but tend to feel that things are not as simple as it seems.

Firstly, I  believe that we have a shortage of people who are in the 30s age group.

Those in these age group would already be well employed and entrenched in their career.

Those in their 40s would likely expect to be paid more than 5K a mth because these people would have much higher financial commitment with school going kids and hefty house loans, cars but  4 or 5K a month salary should still be enough to support a family living in a HDB flat so it is still hard to believe why do these companies need FTs like those I met…

It looks like there is  no ready answers to my  enquiries surrounding our complex manpower issues here.

Regards,

Nicholas

 

Reader Feedback

15 Responses to “Local job market over-taken by foreign talents”

  1. dolphin81 says:

    Hi Nic

    Tks for your article. The impt part is that we need the employer pt of view which has been suppressed by the PAP-MSM.

    The PAP approach is to bring in the FTs fast & hope they will generate the value for everyone.

    As a result, PAP denies there are any PMET problems.

    Only detailed discussions from both sides can solve the problems.

    • Gilbert Goh says:

      Hi dolphin81

      What you said is true as so far we didn’t have a chance to hear from the employer’s side.
      e
      Too many employers simply say they can’t hire local workers and the government will just allow them to hire foreigners.

      This has got to stop…

      There is a limit to how many foreigners we can hire before the island state breaks apart…

      We can’t take it anymore.

      Gilbert

  2. Ken says:

    I work in a University overseas. Hence, I was glad when I saw a bunch of students visiting which I instinctively know to be from Singapore.
    Imagine my shock when both the lecturer and staff leading the visit are both FT; whether they have become a PR or citizen I’m not aware.
    Are there no S’poreans who qualify to lead a group of local students in overseas visit?

  3. SLOW COACH says:

    SIGH! what can we do about it?

  4. Ben says:

    People in their 30s expecting 3k to 5k a month? Those in their 40s expecting more than 5k a month? You must be joking! You make it sounds like there’s a honey pot out there & no Singaporeans is interested.

    There are so many jobless Singaporeans, especially the older ones in their late 40s or 50s, who will gladly grab a 2k job from a ‘Foreign Trash’. And I am talking about the kind of jobs mentioned above. These are not high tech jobs.

    The above article gives the impression that the PAP government is not at fault. What’s the real motive here? Those who are pounding the pavement, looking for a job & still cannot find a meaningful job, knows the real situation. I know.

    • admin says:

      Hi Ben,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Transitioning.org has seen more than 500 jobless PMETs to date and we do understand the situation.

      However, there is no real tangible solution which can really resolve the problem.

      If the government closes down the EP passes, businesses will really shut down and pack up.

      This may be one thing we could do to allow the locals to realise that the governmetn is pro-Singaporean.

      Implementing minimum wage is also another thing that the government can consider to allow the poorly-paid workers to earn a decent wage.

      This will also jack up cost and some businesses may also have to pack up.

      I realise that our government is very pro-business – even at the expense of angering the local population.

      It is also slow to change and this may harm them very much at the polls unfortunately.

      If you can’t govern well and provide basic survival needs for your people then clearly something is wrong at the top.

      Gilbert Goh

  5. anon says:

    You should show the typical photo of places like Raffles Place and Shenton Way.

    I’m not against those foreign workers as shown in the photo at the top of this article. Those working in construction, domestic maids etc where the jobs are tough, low pay and sometimes dangerous will have real issues in attracting citizens, unless PAP adopts the attitudes and pro-citizen policies of many developed countries such as Australia and US, where most of their construction workers, shipyard workers etc are locals with decent pay and benefits.

    I’m against against the over-extreme opening up of basic admin, office-type jobs, PMETs etc given to foreigners — many of them on S-Pass or E-Pass. There is also no limit for E-Pass. Companies can have 100% E-Pass foreigners in their staffing. Many of such foreign workers are depriving 35-60 yr old Singaporean PMETs of jobs commensurate with their experience and education. The Work-Permit, S-Pass and lower level E-Pass are also depressing the wages of workers. And companies take these low wages for granted as their god-given rights. They offer unattractive salaries in comparison to the jobscope and say that Singaporeans not willing.

    In fact I will say that the over-population of foreigners in Singapore has even deprived jobless 40+ PMET citizens of even jobs in the $1.8K-$2.5K range. Don’t even talk about $3K jobs. Ageism is very prevalent in Singapore. Employers will simply go for the 20-something foreigner even if they have to pay $3+K to him.

    And not to mention the growing prevalence of “syndication” whereby foreigners in management positions or HR positions recruit their own countrymen over Singaporeans.

    Let’s see in this Friday’s Budget how much PAP will give in to the companies demands for even more loose foreigner import, more freebies and more incentives.

    • Gilbert Goh says:

      Hi anon,

      Its true that nowadays all work sectors are competed fiercely by foreign workers less the cabbies and probably civil service.

      This is sad and a frustrating reflection of the influx of foreigners into our country.

      I can only empathsize with our low end workers and mid ranged PMETs who have difficulty making ends meet.

      There is a very weak civil movement here and we are trying our best to stir up the passions for Singaporeans.

      So when we organised an event for such a purpose, Singaporeans must not protest online but take the MRT trains to Clark Quay MRT station and step physically into the ground at Hong Lim park.

      Unity is strength and there is a huge difference between 90 and 900 people.

      It shows unity, passion and more importantly rightful defiance of the lopsided policy of the government.

      We have witnessed how certain policies implemented these past few years were not really helpful to our country.

      Yet, we have no choice but to accept them submissively.

      Singaporeans can do much more than vote against the government every five years.

      We have this right to stage an event legally to protest against certain policies that we find harmful to our country’s welfare.

      See you at the next event soon…

      Gilbert Goh

  6. Ben says:

    Hi, Gilbert,

    I was at the Singaporeans First event at the Speakers Corner on 11/2/12. You probably need to find more ways to publicize the event for more attendance. I know it’s not easy. I appreciate the effort of your group.

    I agree with the various points raised by Anon in the above post.

    Actually, I have nothing much against the Permit Holders & the E-Pass holders. We used to have them around since the early 70s. Still, we have to be careful.

    Permit Holders:- I am sure most Singaporeans do not mind this group of workers in the domestic maid, construction & shipyard industries. As for jobs like food court table cleaners, these used to be done by our Singaporean uncles & aunties. I can see that they are being slowly replaced by young ‘cheaper, better, faster’ PRC workers. (ref:- http://www.ntuc.org.sg/wps/portal/up2/home/workingforu/workingforudetails?WCM_GLOBAL_CONTEXT=/content_library/ntuc/home/working+for+u/f1b4760048f01dccacc3bf2016918325) Even our tin can & cardboard collectors are replaced by middle aged PRC people. Why are these people here? Obviously, they must be relatives of PRC workers. Not only they take our jobs, they bring the whole gang over.

    E-Pass holders:- It’s perfectly alright to let this type in, provided no Singaporean is found suitable.

    S-Pass holders:- WHY ARE THEY HERE? I am not saying we should ban them 100%. This middle category of jobs is what most Singaporeans are qualified for.

    For all the above categories, the government is so hard-up that they open the flood gate wide open. With all these ‘Foreign Trash’ around, most employers gleefully offered low salaries & declared that Singaporeans are fussy.

    After almost doubling our population with foreigners, they say they are tightening up the influx. Why now? After they have lost one GRC? Plus a declining vote percentage?

    It not that most Singaporeans are fully employed with fat salaries. If that’s the case, it’s OK to bring some foreigners. But the sad fact is that a lot of Singaporeans are under-employed or unemployed. Of course, there are many other issues beside jobs. Singaporeans are getting more & more disillusioned. Still not convinced? The last two General Elections(GE) & the Presidential Election speak for itself. The next GE should be more interesting.

  7. jj says:

    There was a Adidas retail recruitment yesterday at its Robinson rd office. Most of the interviewees were foreigners, many many Pinoys. Some were tourists, some were S-pass holders. Adidas is a famous international sports brand, so even caucasian also came to interview. Singaporeans became the minority.

    Singaporeans were less prepare than these Pinoys. Just because the recruitment ad didn’t mention anything about bring the resume, photographs & certs. Many Singaporeans were caught offguard when the receptionist asked for resumes from them. On the other hand, the pinoys were brought all resume, photographs & certs with them. Luckly, the receptionist, HR & operations staff (all so young) still accepted all application forms as they knew that many would not have brought their resumes.

    Singaporeans which i saw were all youths, middle aged me really wonders how high my chances is competing with these youths & foreigners. What are the chances that our youths competing with the foreigners? I went back home with a heavy heart.

    Thanks God, WP won the Aljunied GRC created a panic for PAP.

  8. dolphin81 says:

    After thinkin thru, there are 2 Singpores, similar to a feudal society.

    The well-off people are living in heaven, aking everything for granted.

    Eg Goh Chok Tong can never imagine better educated SG PMETs are willing to wotk for 3k a month.

    He foolishly thinks Sinkies will have so many opportunities out there that no one will consider “regualr workplace jobs”

    The worst part is that he has been succeeded by Chan Chun Sing who probably thinks the same way.

    The other Singapore of marginalized people does not exist, according to PAP.

    I may sound mean but I have very little sympathy for marginalized elderly Sinkies who continue to vote PAP.

    We do not need the Internet to know things are going wrong.

    I wish these silly old folks will die immiediately.

    At the same time, I salute those old folks who consistently voted against PAP. Hope they live longer.

    As for old folks who have benfited a lot from PAP, I cant fault them. If Goh Chok Tong gives me a job that pays $10 000 a month for the past 10 years, I will be a hardcore PAP supporter.

  9. Parka says:

    Almost 40% of Singapore population are foreigners. People have to take this issue as the normal way of life.

  10. Anana says:

    Nobody owes anyone a living. Singaporean who rants about foreign talent are just a bunch of cry wolves. Just because Singaporeans just want company to offer them something when they provide problems towards employers. It is easy to blame government for the influx of foreigners. However, most SMEs rely on foreigners not only because they are cheap, they are hardworking and don’t complain. Moreover, they can produce results unlike Singaporeans who wants high pay but produce rubbish instead.

  11. Marcos says:

    Anana: How do you know that all Singaporeans want high pay and yet produce rubbish? Have you worked with all Singaporeans?

    If citizens of a country cannot even voice their opinions on regulations/policies that their government enacts, then what is the purpose of having a sovereignty? You really ought to travel and read up before passing such narrow views. A healthy system of feedback/engagement is necessary for every nation to advance forward, not a follow-every-policy-blindly herd mentality.

  12. sal says:

    Vote for the party that come out with good policies that help the citizens….All the best!

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