Singapore – The public expressed their voice regarding the ongoing issue of Singapore’s reliance on foreign workers and foreign talents, saying it all boils down to money.
According to a channelnewsasia.com report published on Tuesday (June 9), it has been difficult for businesses to acquire local talents, noting that it is also not cheap to hire foreign workers. One contractor, Peh Ke-Pin from PQ Builders, shared his experience and lack of luck in hiring Singaporean workers. Meanwhile, sourcing foreign workers is not as cheap as people think, he said, noting that a construction worker typically earns about S$800 a month in basic pay. “But each worker costs at least double that, if you count the levy, accommodation and food expenses, as well as overtime pay.”
Mr Peh admitted that hiring a local would not be much more expensive as he is willing to pay between S$2,000 to S$3,000 for a Singaporean to take the job; however, there have been no takers.
Singaporeans might consider working in the construction industry, with higher pay and career advancement, but added that most see the job as menial, even dangerous, said channelnewsasia.com. There is also the issue that a starting salary of less than S$2,000 is not enough to provide for a family residing in the country, confirmed Samuel Goh who trained as a workplace safety officer and eventually turned to a sales job.
The same lack of interest among Singaporeans applies to technicians and technologist positions. “This means that the issue for some employers might not be budget constraints, but the lack of local applicants,” said Mr Joseph Goh, deputy chairman of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering Technical Committee for the Institution of Engineers, Singapore (IES).
Members from the online community promptly shared their views on the matter, highlighting numerous issues, including the difference between foreign workers and foreign talents. “Again our Government is diverting the attention to FWs instead of the huge influx of FTs,” said Aston Tay who mentioned that the latter was taking away jobs that Singaporeans want.
Many noted that nobody had issues with construction or other essential workers. “What the people are saying are the PMET’s (Professionals, Managers, Executives and Technicians) jobs,” said Ali Yahya Raee.
A few pinpointed that reducing the country’s reliance on foreign workers could begin by cancelling the 10 million population target. “Else you’ll need them to build BTO and condo for new citizens.”
Netizens compared Singapore with other countries such as Japan, Korean, Australia and France who continue to build their cities without a massive number of foreign workers. “What type of technology, workplace environment, equipment, career path development (do they have) that help attract locals?” asked Calvin Yo. Perhaps a similar approach could be implemented in Singapore.