I believe the following are some of the issues faced by most of our local workers now, namely:
1) Unlevel playing field for locals vz foreigners because of NS reservist, CPF, etc. that allow employers to prefer hiring foreigners over locals. This is ironical as the national duties of our locals have clearly disadvantaged them from the job market!
2) Discrimination in various forms, such as against age, against race, against nationality, etc. If employers can be let off easily they will continue to hire younger, fitter and cheaper alternatives.
3) Specific to PMETs:- open door policy that places zero limits, which NO developed or developing country does - every country only imports people for jobs which are PROVEN that locals cannot or will not do. We have no problems with importing construction workers, for example but not those kind of work that Singaporeans can comfortably take on.
4) Lack of protection for lowest-paid in society because of no minimum wage, enabling employers to push wage levels for the desperate down from $900 to $800 to $700 to $600 (e.g. for a cleaner)
5) The entire wage structure in the country is unsustainable and needs an overhaul. for example, why do countries like UK and Switzerland and other advanced European economies not have problems with “manual” workers? Because they’re paid a decent wage. In Singapore, not only do “unskilled” workers (right, try doing your own plumbing ….) get low social prestige, but they also get below-sustenance wages. Is it any wonder nobody wants these jobs? Why is there no shortage of plumbers and waiters in developed countries? Come on, learn a lesson from them…
6) With our $2.3 billion surplus, why aren’t we providing unemployment benefits to our citizens? I’m not talking about those leeches who never work. I’m talking about hard-working citizens who’ve worked their whole lives but suddenly lost their jobs … why shouldn’t the country help them? Our ministers love to use the word “trade-off” when talking about policy choices. We understand that. But then, if the “economy” as a whole benefits by making difficult “trade-offs”, why aren’t some of these benefits used to look after the people whose interests have been traded off?
7) What IS wrong with our education system? The entire system has been focused on feeding the economy, yet we are being told repeatedly that companies are hiring foreigners because they can’t find Singaporeans with the right qualifications. So, HOW and WHY is the education system failing us, who is looking into it, and what is the timeline to address these issues? Has it been at least 10 years since we’ve noticed an inequilibrium and what progress are we making to address them, and when do we expect to address the BIG issues, if they have been identified? How does MOM co-ordinate with MOE on these BIG issues facing local workers?
8) Lee Hsien Loong likes to talk about the Singapore brand and the premium that the brand gives us, which is why we are desired by companies. Strange, how is it that THAT premium doesn’t seem to work in Singapore? How does that reconcile with Singaporeans NOT being preferred by companies in Singapore - BOTH foreign and local include our very own hospitals, if we believe what we read about advertisements being discriminatory against Singaporeans?
There are many more manpower issues that have gone awry here but I should stop now.
Good luck and thanks.