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Friday October 20th 2017

Are Singaporean PMETs hungry enough?

I’ve returned to Singapore after spending close to a decade working overseas (London and Hong Kong).

I’m currently working for a well-known international investment bank and struggled to find a local candidate to fill a senior IT role.

I’d tons of foreign applicants and only a handful of locals.

Most of the locals lack overseas exposure/s and a rather severe skill-set mismatch with what the market currently needs (or will need in the future).

I’ve to confessed that I’d “lower” the benchmark for a couple locals, hoping that I was wrong in my initial assessment and that they will turn out to be a gem in the later stages of the selection.

Boy was I wrong! Not only do all the Singaporean applicants lack in-depth experience and knowledge, they also lack that sense of aggression, enthusiasm and that desire (or should I say… “hunger”) to succeed.

It almost felt as though as if, they are “entitled” to the job, because of the mere fact that they are….. Singaporeans.

I’d fought inch & tooth to increase the headcount in Singapore and not move it to lower cost bases in India or China. If this new hire is a poor match and does not succeed, it will be my neck on the chopping board.

With a very heavy heart, I had to listen to my brain and ignore my emotions; the role was eventually offered to a foreigner instead.

This decision wasn’t made because of a “Foreigner-vs-Singaporean” conflict.

It was made because of the candidate’s suitability to the role. I’d to choose the best person, who can succeed and help us achieve the firm’s targets. It was just painfully sad that it was not offered to a Singaporean instead.

We, Singaporeans, grumbled a lot but in the midst of all these whining; have we spent quality time on reflecting?

Paper qualifications (i.e. degrees, masters, etc…) are one thing; but attitude, enthusiasm, energy and I’m not referring to age.

I’ve seen aplenty number of 50s/60s with energy levels on par with the late 20s) and overall, the thirst to succeed is key.

I strongly urge Singaporeans to widen their horizon. Go out to the world, try something new.

Increase your knowledge base, consistently venture out of your comfort zone/s and make this a habit.

Never get complacent and lethargic.

We live in a globalized world now, this phenomenon is not unique to Singapore.

If we do not make ourselves worthy of every single penny/cents, it is really that easy for firms to just unplug from Singapore and move on to the next “lower value cost center”.

Returning Singaporean

Editor’s note: This note appeared as a comment in one of our post.

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4 Responses to “Are Singaporean PMETs hungry enough?”

  1. sal says:

    I think Sporeans know, they can’t beat the Indian’ s IT skills and most would divert to other sectors. Most IT Dept’s are filled by Indians and the Hiring Manager…. its a big task to get a good job in this industry if it being monopolies by one group. Hope future party who gov the city will come out with good policies so that not one group of nationality champion an industry.

  2. vree says:

    Dont try to tell lies lah. Always blaming the locals. I see many CEO, top managers and ministers also not hungry but they still get the job.

  3. this is home says:

    then what’s the benefit to singaporeans having your company here? if not for better location, infrastructure and national service providing stability, would your company care to be here in the first place? why didn’t your company go to malaysia, philippines, vietnam? these countries have corruptions and not so safe, right?

    what you can do to show gratitude to singaporeans is while you employed an experienced foreigner, you need to hire a diligent but inexperienced singaporean graduate to provide the learning opportunity. Make sure this foreigner will not end up recruiting his own kind, but only singaporeans to impart/transfer skills. If you are really a singaporean, you need to ensure the legacy of a huge group of well-trained and experienced singaporeans.

  4. sal says:

    One group of nationality should not champion one industry, especially IT or Banking.

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