Support Site for The Unemployed & Underemployed
Friday January 25th 2019

Contract jobs for Singaporeans, permanent jobs for foreigners!

Hi Gilbert

Not sure if anyone has shared with you about recruitment agency charging high monthly administrative charges from their contracted staff.

I could not find a permanent job in the job markets since…crossing the age of 35. Plus most jobs offered by these MNCs with contract positions go to majorities of us, Singaporeans whereas the permanent positions go to foreigners.

I have no choice but to contact numerous recruitment agencies to assist me for job finding. Usually recruitment agencies assign employees like us to provide professional, support or services as defined in the assignment made under a contract.

I am currently working on a yearly renewal contract in a respectable Multi-national company.

My recruitment agency will bill their client on monthly basis. I found out I was paid 80% monthly salary for my contract in 2013.

They pocketed 20% monthly to cover their so called administrative expenses. For renewal contract in 2014, they pocket 24% and I got 76% for my monthly salary.

Yes, I did have an increment for my renewal contract for 2014. However, 24% for an administrative role is hell lots of money!! Why should my recruitment agency draws so much money on me? I felt like a slave!!!!

My previous job was also through a local small recruitment agency. I remembered they charged a minimum flat rate of administrative fee to their client on monthly basis throughout my several renewal contracts.

Why are their administrative charges and amounts can vary between recruitment agencies?

No wonder there are so many local and foreign recruitment agencies setting up in Singapore. One good example is Encora Technologies. It is definitely a good money-generating business (editor: Veron’s contractor Encora took 40% of the fees paid by AT & T).

Once their client is happy with the performance of their contracted staff, they will just sit back and collect monthly fee. That’s easy money!!! These suckers, recruitment agencies will not protect us.

They just replace us once their client stop the contract. Not sure if our MOM will come out with any regulation or establish a standardized administrative fee pricing structure to protect contract staff, “slaves” like me.

Mrs Tan

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12 Responses to “Contract jobs for Singaporeans, permanent jobs for foreigners!”

  1. Aqua says:

    It is true that there are many more recruitment agencies now. They set terms with the potential job seekers and hiring companies and their terms vary. Basically, they do the initial ‘match-making’ of hiring companies with job seekers and sit back to enjoy the commission.

    Personally, I do not have much good impression and experience with job agencies as they may not necessarily act in favour of the job-seekers. What transpired between the hiring company and them is often not made known to us. At times, I am also quite doubtful if the job agencies did have that many valid job positions, or they simply post a position that is not in existence in the hope of collecting resumes to market to their potential partners (hiring companies) that they have a ready pool of resources. Even if they have valid positions, how would we know if they will choose to manipulate the application and support their own kind especially if the people involved in the ‘match-making’ process are foreigners.

    I had steered away from job agencies and prefer to go direct with the hiring companies instead. I do hope there is a highly effective and credible job agency who is dedicated to match-make the locals with hiring companies who wish to employ the locals. Sad to say, e2i, cdac etc who supposed to perform this role are seemingly ineffective.

  2. J Y says:

    At least contract jobs are better than temp jobs which last for a few months without any benefits. Temp workers can be asked to leave by employers immediately without any compensation. The pay is most probably lower than contract jobs which have benefits like MC, annual leave etc.

    I had worked as a temp many years ago at $6.50/h. The agent had billed my employer for $10/h. The agent had earned a commission of $3.50/h which was paid by my employer, not me. From my knowledge, their commission rate varied between 30-40% which was paid for by the employer, not the employee.

    The problem was that the agent would very unlikely increase your pay by taking a lower commission after the first month. They would give you the same pay every month until the employer ended the contract.

    Once I asked the agent whether I could get an increment after the first month, meaning that they would get a lower commission from the 2nd month onwards. She said she had to ask her manager about it and didn’t get back to me. In the end, I had to get the same pay for every month that I worked there.

    I just felt that it was so easy for them to earn their commission. There should be a cap on the number of months which they could earn their commission. Or else, it would be like CPF which deduct from our pay every month for life.

  3. sal says:

    The Ministries should come in and stop these agencies who make easy money from the contract workers. MOM should have a legislation where every worker are being paid rightly and they should be protect from bogus agencies and companies.

  4. XYZ says:

    J Y,

    Most of the so-called contract jobs are actually temp jobs as explained by you. These contract jobs have no benefits. This has particularly been the case since 2005 when foreigners started coming in by the bucketloads.

    Companies are actually doing partial outsourcing for non-core work — get the cheapest worker from various agencies, but work under the direct supervision of the company staff.

    These contract jobs don’t have benefits — you work then you get paid. You take MC or leave, you don’t get paid. You take too many MC or the company don’t like you — they will ask the agency to change worker.

    Note that you are a sub-contractor under the agency. The company does not directly hire you. The company only talks to the agency for hiring/firing/job scope/length of time needed/etc. Hence the agency sends monthly bill to the company, and the company pays the agency monthly. The agency then takes 30% to 40% and pays you the remainder.

    The so-called contract is a BS contract prepared by the agency to lock you in, as the agency has a commitment to the company to provide worker for XX months. This contract is usually 1-sided and has penalties if you quit. And they usually specify a long notice period e.g. 2 months or until they find a suitable replacement to take over you first.

    The agency is like all other companies — to get profits and to game the system to maximise their own gains. If you quit suddenly and the agency cannot find another worker to replace you, the company can fine or penalise the agency. So the agency squeeze you first.

    I have checked with MOM and couple of my lawyer friends. All the above are acceptable and in accordance with current Singapore laws.

  5. caramello says:

    FYI, there are currently more than 2000 over recruitment agency in Singapore till this day and new ones are springing up each and everyday. Just see Jobstreet and Jobsdb.

    Worse of all, some or majority of those agency even made candidate pay them a month salary when they got terminated by their so called client company within 3 or 6 months or when they quit the job themselves. Isn’t this exploitation.

    The best is to apply directly to the hiring company for both contract and perm roles because even if you or the company were to terminate one another, you do not need to pay the company. Just serve notice then leave.

    *End of story*

    • xyz says:

      the reason why agencies ask you to pay 1 month salary if you leave or kena fired within 3 or 6 months is becoz the agency will lose their 1mth salary commission from the company.

      So the agency problem now become your problem.

      Only in pro-business Singapore can such exploitative practices be legal under employment act & laws.

      • Xavier says:

        “the reason why agencies ask you to pay 1 month salary if you leave or kena fired within 3 or 6 months is becoz the agency will lose their 1mth salary commission from the company.

        So the agency problem now become your problem.

        Only in pro-business Singapore can such exploitative practices be legal under employment act & laws.”
        Nope, this also happens in Malaysia, Kelly recruitment does that too (look at the fine print of their contracts that you sign – and I have!)

        Also, if you believe the job environment in Malaysia is more “fair”, see this:
        “We, the 52 undersigned groups, organisations, trade unions and networks are appalled by the revelation that revelation that between the period of 2001 and 2011, that 31.5% or 10,016 of workers in Malaysia who claimed wrongful dismissal, were denied their right to have their cases heard and determined by the Industrial Court, by reason of the Minister of Human Resources refusal to refer these cases after attempts at conciliation with the employer had failed to reach a settlement.”

  6. Sian says:

    Then is it a good idea to join one of these 2000 recruitment agencies? Instead of being exploited as contract “slaves”, why not become a recruitment consultant yourself? Have any of you applied to be a recruitment consultant?

  7. JJ says:

    i have been searching for a IT job for the past 2mths and happen to came across this site. never knew that there are so many true blue SG ppl like me now. I have my share of exp with these so call job agency too and not long ago i response to 1 job ads by this agency and it turns out to be there is no opening, yet they still ask me down to their office for interview just to offer me another kind of job. Imagine how i felt, already so stress out without finding a job, and still have to be play around by them.

  8. sal says:

    Need to vote for a new party to gov the city and change the policies of foreign employment.

  9. ABC says:

    I was once employed by a recruitment agency to work in an MNC. The commission they charged the company was 30% of my salary. This was about one third of my salary. Yet, I was not entitled to bonuses and my annual leave days were less than the other agencies’ contractors. Forget to mention that the MNC also has other recruitment agencies contractors working there.
    Moreover, other contractors could be released earlier but I had to work till 6pm and there were no transport from the workplace (the location was out of reach from public transport) to nearest MRT or public bus stop. I had to call a taxi on my own expenses.
    This is the life of being a contractor or outsider of a company

  10. ABCED says:

    Please lah – get a job also complain? If you think that being a recruitment consultant is so simple, then go join them. Since it’s such an easy job, go do recruitment and earn easy money.

    FYI the recruiter has to answer to the client, and never to you the candidate. Not happy? Drop them and use your “abilities” to find a job yourself directly with the client.

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