Support Site for The Unemployed & Underemployed
Friday January 19th 2018

Jobless 35-year-old IT Specialist Lost His Job To A Foreign Talent

Dear Gilbert,

I have been following your site¬†since it was¬†started ¬†in Jan 2009 as that¬†was also ¬†the year I got retrenched. You have my admiration for supporting local Singaporean in the darkest moment of their life. Since then, your site had driven¬† me to ¬†fight on and I managed to secure employment in late 2009. However, good things didn’t ¬†seem to last long as I am back in the same jobless predicament now.

I am 35 years old and has a Bachelor Degree in Information Technology from Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (2001). I considered myself lucky as I’m still single and do not have much financial or domestic burden as compared to some of the postings in your blog. Nevertheless, the recent dismissal had taken quite a toil to my psyche and prompted me to write to you.

I have 12 years of working experience, and my last job was a Senior Executive managing ICT operations for a financial institution. In November last year, I was told to tender my “resignation” to pave way for cheaper labour. Many of my friends have also ¬†left the IT industry citing reasons of work/life imbalance¬†and ¬†salary depression due to foreign labour influx.¬†Ironically, ¬†I have interviewed quite a few number of foreign¬†talents with Master’s Degree qualification requesting $2500 for a junior position during an employment exercise in my previous company.

I’m well aware of this cheaper foreign-labour phenomenon here but I soldier on as my life has been dedicated to the IT profession for so many years and I do not know of any other viable sectors for me to try on. Now, I’m back at the crossroads and I’m really at a loss, Gilbert whether should I continue to venture ¬†on in the IT industry or seek other fields. I’m no longer certain if I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Warmest Regards,


Editor’s Note: I will be seeing Gerald next week for a session. Gerald has also just informed me that he has ¬†suffered a relapse of maniac ¬†depression due¬†to the ¬†prolonged unemployment. We are here for you Gerald – don’t give up the fight!

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23 Responses to “Jobless 35-year-old IT Specialist Lost His Job To A Foreign Talent”

  1. anon says:

    In the 1980s, it used to be 45 as the cut off age for being able to get a job. In 1990s it was 40. Since 2005 onwards the cutoff age is 35. Soon it will be 30.

    At this rate, no point for Singapore life expectancy to increase. It will be applicable only to the rich and privileged who plan to continue sitting in highly-paid cushy jobs until they are 90 yrs old.

    And BTW, those so-called FTs in banks are not exactly cheap. They come in on lower salaries, but very quickly they will ask and get much higher salaries. Many of such IT foreigners in fact come in with salaries of $7K and above, with housing allowances some more. I know becoz my parents are renting their flat out to such indian IT people.

    Also, if these people are so talented, why do banks need so many headcount of them? Many of the jobscopes have actually been broken down into small parts, and each small part is being done by a foreigner. In the old days, singaporeans need to take on multiple jobscopes to justify their higher salary. Nowadays, with foreigners in management and HR, they rather employ 3X more foreigners with slightly cheaper salaries to do the same jobs.

  2. jax says:

    i think we could make a good start if we stop refering to these pple in the govt lingo viz as foreign talent. they r foreigners. tt’s all. whether they are talents is a moot point. why do we keep on falling into the govt trap on how these pple shld be refered to?

  3. CruEL says:

    Hi Gerald,

    I think many IT personnel from sales to tech position are facing this problems since time memorial. This is not a new phenomenon. What we the IT personnel have learnt but the government and big institutions have not is that those ‘degrees’ and ‘rocket scientist’ resumes DO NOT have what it takes for their organisation. It will take them time to find that out, only to be replaced with very expensive IT solutions, which by then the HR or the people who were affected in the first place would have all left and/or the Finance side will be asking for cost cutting into IT expenditure and back to square one looking for degrees and ‘rocket scientist’ IT helpdesk officers. LOL.

    Gerald, if you are good in your field, do not be afraid to step out and do it alone. Offer your services as a consultant, 2nd tier, 3rd tier IT support for such companies. The opportunities are unlimited. EVEN PUB, LTA and once NETS was facing India Indian IT bullshit problems. ENETS only solved it not too long ago. But do you think they have learnt their lesson? NOPE NO WAY! So why do you wanna work in such an organisation? Its always more profitable to clean up other people’s mess. And you should know, those people mess up a lot.

    Cheer up!

  4. Tim says:

    This are what I learnt from working in 95% foreigner environment.
    1. Most foreigners are trash but cheap.

    2. Projects can be completed with 95% trash and 5% good people (real FTs or locals). Only this 5% needs to be well paid.

    3. The good 5% suffer like hell leading a bunch of morons. Of course this is no way for a human being to work but the bosses only care about the result. We still need to feed our families.

    4. Not all locals are good. Hence, the bosses don’t see why they should hire a local for the price of two foreigners.

    5. Locals need to up their game and not take things for granted. Improve ourselves, show good working attitude and sense of responsibility. In short, be the 5%, prove to the bosses why we are worth the salary of two foreigners.

  5. Joe says:


    You can apply for a PR overseas. In Australia, they do not look at your age but your skill set. You have a number of years of experience and still young and you should have another chance here…

  6. Mr Tan says:

    I work in one of a top foreign bank IT. Its foreigners everwhere at my workplace. Just come down to Changi Business Park during lunch hour and you will see it for yourself. Sometimes I think I am in Mumbai or Manila.

    There is something seriously wrong in our country. I have never seen such overwhelming foreigners anywhere else in the world, it’s only in Singapore.

    Gerald, to be honest, every colleague of mine who are Singaporean are worried for our own rice bowl, we are only waiting for the day to come when we are being totally replace by cheap foreigners. Out of my team of 14, only 4 are locals. Out of 14, 11 are contractors. 2 years on, and not a single cent of increment or bonus. No rewards for good performers. And all this coming from one of the TOP foreign banks.

    There is absolutely nothing anyone can do. It’s all PAP faulty manpower and immigration policies that are hurting, not only people like us, but generally the whole Singapore workforce. As long as PAP is in power, or an elite, or born with silver spoon, we middle class people better start planning to quit Singapore, for our survival sake. Things go on like this, mark my words, 10 years down the road, local IT workers will see at least a 20% to 50% remuneration reduction, just like what we have seen for those low wage workers over the last decade.

    • Ryan says:

      Hi Mr Tan,

      Please do your part in GE 2016. I have done mine. I can tell you, that even though in my estate, the opposition is not that good but I still vote for them. I vote not for the sake of the estate which I am living in. I voted for a greater cause!!! Its for our fellow countrymen!!!

      Brothers please unite and vote them out in GE 2016. We will see light!! don’t think it is impossible… I worked in IT field too. I am in networking field. I have seen so many trash lousy indians and Chinese PRC… crap

      Vote not with fear!! but with pride!!!! brothers!! Its time to do what Dr Sun has done in China

  7. ezzies says:

    This is th sentimental on the ground level where the ruling party has failed to address. I think most people would agree that we welcome foreigner as a tourist but not as cheap labour. Most foreigner do not view Singapore as the ideal city to retire except for the super rich. They are taking Singapore as a bridge to cross over to other western nation.It is kinda of sad to see such scene in Singapore.

    I wonder why don’t they import the foreign minister like Obama and his team of people into the parliament. As it is cheaper to employ them than the current group. Perhaps then the minister will be able to feel what the ground is feeling. Anyway it is a impossible…lol

  8. jj says:

    PAP always like outsourcing & privatisation, so we should outsource our parliament too for cheaper cost & get better KPI.

    PAP said the wages for the MPs, ministers & presidents from foreign countries are low but they got a lot of high but hidden benfits. But in S’pore, our PAP MPs, ministers, president are drawing high pay + high & open benfits.

    Those minister of defence & high ranking SAF officers were all drawing high pay without much practical warfare experience. Perhaps we should also outsource these positions to the US military troops too.

  9. Karma says:

    Thank you for the draft 60.1%
    who will cause our misery for the next 4 years.
    Until Election 2016 comes, there is no hope.

  10. ET says:

    From 1997 to 2010, the hiring age is below 30.
    The current new trend started in 2011 is below 35.

    I have been looking for a job since 1997.

    During the 1997, all human resource managers told me that they are looking for job applicants below 30.

    The first posting here gave the wrong information.

  11. admin says:

    Hi ET,

    I guess age has always being a sensitive issue here and the main problem now probably is the heavy influx of foreigners giving employers a vast supply of workers to choose from.

    Friends working in the recruitment companies told me how CVs from foreign workers outnumbered those from the locals 10 to one!

    Unless you have very specialised skills you need to look for work using the unnatural ways.

    for example, network more and get to know people from all walks of life.

    Attend events and try to print a namecard for yourself so that your particulars are easily exchangeable.

    Be open to new industries that have vacancies.

    If possible, volunteer for comapnies that you want to gain a foothold in.

    If they offer temp work go for it so that you get to know their staff and company’s needs.

    I remembered working as a social work asst for $7/hour with a family service centre so that I could get a foothold in that industry.

    After a while, I moved on and managed to secure full time employment with another VWO.

    I finanlly set up my own non profit company four years ago.

    Do try and know what you want as that will bring you on course to your target.

    I feel that many people fail to seriously know what they want for themselves and they often go round in circles when they look for employment.

    There are many career profiling test instruments available in the market and do consider taking one to help you find out what really triggers you.

    Gilbert Goh

  12. Maggie says:

    Its really unfortunate but instead of just looking for another job, why not venture out into your own business when you have all the IT skills? With this I presume you are able to write programs for the web or mobile phones or tabs. I wish I have that knowledge that IT people have.

  13. PIG says:

    Hi Gerald,

    I’m in similar position b4 and was jobless for 10 mths. And i have a family to feed. Go to HDB for delay payments but not approve. Sink into slight depression.
    Everything is good now.

    You need to let it out. Talk to friends. For me i talk not only to friends but doctor as well. Take some medication for a good sleep. Nothing wrong with it and i’m lucky not to sink into deep depression. It’s dangerous.

    You need to be strong. Go temple / church and talk to GOD; seek his help and you have a better piece of mind.

    Do some odd jobs first; not for money but to distract your negative thinking. You meet new people which is good to share your feelings.

    When back on track, probably do some tuitions and the same time look for work. If you like kids, teaching is a good option (short of teachers in Singapore i think).

    Don’t crank up in your room. Go out and meet friends and find things to do.

    Believe me you’ll be alright and when you think back in future, you’ll cherish this experience and you learn.


    RMIT Comrade (Melbourne)1996

  14. Andriene says:

    Hey Gerald,

    I am not working for now, on leave for half year to be exact. I thought it will be fun, having time off for myself to do things that i like. But I realize that it is not that fun. I don’t know what is it really like to be in your shoes, but for me, i felt disconnected from the rest of society. Maybe because i am a social person by nature (but all of us are social creatures!), I was depressed for three months.

    I am not prescribing anything to you because everyone is unique and we experience situations like unemployment and respond differently, but i think i dare say that you are worried also about the future.

    For me, I had to connect with people again. Go to the gym, workout, volunteer, church, meet up with friends who I wish to have dinner with but never had the time to.

    Also to let go, and ‘bochup’..take it one day at a time. By that, i don’t mean lose control and sink deeper into depression because i went through that, but to let go of some inherent trait of singaporeans or maybe just human reaction to worry about tomorrow, and ENJoy the peace of TOday. Then i found positive energy, spontaneous creativity and life less burdensome.
    HOpe this helps…

  15. ed says:

    hi fellow Sg

    If you need survival, find a partner (preferably a foreigner, be he/she a westerner, an easterner, US, USA, Canadian, Thai, Filipino, Chinese, Indonesian,Cambodian,Mynmar,Indian, etc).
    Use your charm and show your love, etc
    Get married and buy a HDB flat (if you are a first timer, you get grant. The Sg government will be very happy you get married and produce babies, esp male babies whom can do NS in 18 years’ time to protect our country. Use your CPF to service your flat initially.
    Migrate to your partner’s country and do something there, surely your spouse will help you, have a baby or two, three or four, our Sg will be very happy and give you money !!! (cash, $6,000, $12,000, $18,000), If you survive, your spouse will make sure you survive (maybe I should set up a marriage agency for Sg guys for foreign FTs and those who wish to come to Sg to work !
    Do business between the two countries, Sg and your spouse’s country, start from very small, a few thousands baht or pesos, etc,
    You say the foreigners are taking away our livelihood, do positive things with them and move on and on!
    Leave the country to make your pot of Gold with the FT or any foreigner who loves Sg,
    so at th end of day, everyone will be happy ! Sg, FT, you and your family !
    Please do not drain your energy, I have left Sg after NS and have opportunity to take up Citizenship in USA, Aust, NZ, and lived in UK, USA, Aust. NZ, etc and have been in and out of Sg, have yet to give up Sg citizenship, but never say never, but remember you lose more than you gain, Sg belongs you to, being angry with Govt policies will not solve your immediate problems, so do the constructive things in life.
    It may get worse, so to conquer FTs and foreigners is to embrace them and get married to them and give them a HDB so everybody will be HAPPY ! esp. Sg.
    Sorry I am overseas right now! left again, and again and again, a few months ago! hope to go back just for the rojak and wanton mee, and mee siam, and not back forever I hope

    • Steven says:

      Hi Ed,
      Due globilsation, you are going in the right direction with your life and you will do well. Complaining and mourning is useless because all those countries progressing well will be flocked with FTs. Sg migrate to Australia, Canada, England etc all the time. Not all are happy after settling down and many returned as well provided they did give up your Sg citizenship. It all boils down whether you are prepared to work hard and find ways to improve your own life, just like what you have been doing. I read an article the other day of an Indonesian lady who make a decent living as professional photographer. Mind you she is without both hands.

  16. [...] 35-year-old IT Specialist Lost His Job To A Foreign Talent Jobless 35-year-old IT Specialist Lost His Job To A Foreign Talent*|*Support Site for The Unemployed… Dear Gilbert, I have been following your site since it was started in Jan 2009 as that was also [...]

  17. Amin says:

    Hi Gerald,

    Don’t give up. Keep a look out for opportunities.

    How about working from freelance sites such as, or similiar sites?

    You’ll earn in USD and it’s been reported that some freelancers can earn as much as USD$7000 a month!

    I’m sure you have certain skills that certain people elsewhere would want. Besides if you manage to earn yourself an income through this sources; you’re technically your own boss.

  18. citizen says:

    Dont’ believe those $2500 salary master grad, esp from india.

    I used to be in-charge of the work of one Indian FT masters grad with $2+k salary, and another PRC masters grad with $3k+.

    The PRC guy finished 5 task the Indian guy cannot even complete one simple task without my help.

    Imo, his standard is worse than poly grad.
    Don’t believe those Indian FTs. Totally rubbish.

    The best ones maybe can work abit, but their bullshitting and lying skills are much better.

  19. BigTummy says:

    Hi Gerald,

    My friend told me about Caliberlink yest, say it helps Singaporeans find jobs and give free career advice.. last week also invite him to some networking thingy with employers.. think got IT jobs also.. no harm trying.. try everything possible to find a job… press on and don‚Äôt give up!

  20. Jo says:

    Dear Gerald,

    I don’t know much about IT. But I do hope what I’m suggesting here warrants a little thought and discussion in this forum.

    I used to work for an association. As small associations go and I believe how many SMEs are, is that they need certain services but does not see the justification of employing a full-time person as their demands ebb and flow. So they employ part-time people who can do the job on a retainer. No jobs to do during certain months but yet busy in others. One example is IT. My association employs this guy to do systems networking and troubleshoot and to import data from old systems to new. He is not full-time but gets paid every month even when the company doesn’t call him. He works for several companies that way.

    The above is true also for other jobs like accounting and some other uncommon services that these companies need.

    I hope you can explore that. Take the spirit that you had in 2009 and soldier on. My best wishes to you.

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