Singapore—In relation to local-foreign workforce balance being one of the most pressing concerns important to Singaporeans today, Manpower Minister Josephine Teo said in Parliament on Tuesday (Feb 18) that three out of four, or seventy-five percent of white-collar jobs in growth sectors including healthcare, finance and insurance services, and information and communications have been occupied by Singaporeans and Permanent Residents (PRs).
Ms Teo released supporting data on Tuesday, saying that the Government has provided support to locals in their quest for high-quality employment by creating more jobs, upskilling, training and promoting fair practices in hiring, a report from straitstimes.com says.
“To help Singaporeans, we must make every effort to keep up these efforts, instead of focusing narrowly on displacing PRs and foreigners in our workforce.
That is a zero-sum game which will cause companies to rethink locating their high-value activities in Singapore. The end result will not serve Singaporeans’ best interests,” Ms Teo said.
This was in answer to a question from Pritam Singh, the head of the Workers’ Party (WP), who had inquired as to the number of jobs for professionals, managers, executives, and technicians (PMET) that are held by foreigners and PRs due to a lack of Singaporeans qualified for them.
The WP chief also asked the Manpower Ministry to identify the sectors wherein there is difficulty in filling PMET jobs with Singaporeans, as well as how programmes that have been instituted to get Singaporeans into these positions have fared. He also asked about the means by which the Government makes sure that Singaporeans learn the skills from foreigners and PRs who are now in those positions.
According to Ms Teo, the Manpower Ministry is in close collaboration with agencies to put locals into PMET jobs in sectors with good growth potential.
She cited the initiative Adapt and Grow, which has aided in facilitating over 48,000 locals looking for employment into PMET positions. In addition to this, Workforce Singapore and industry agencies have also landed over 10,000 mid-career locals into these PMET jobs.
According to Ms Teo, the jobs that the Government has helped locals in obtaining include data analysts, digital advertising professionals, and technical sales engineers. There has also been good fruit coming from professional conversion programmes, with 90 percent of participants remaining employed even two years after their placement, and seven out of 10 participants making better wages than they had in the past.
She also quoted the most recent Graduate Employment Survey from last year, which said that 90 percent of graduates from universities and polytechnics coming into the workforce found jobs within six months of graduation or finishing national service training.
And since this number has been stable over the last 10 years, it means that employment outcome is a good sign that Singaporeans are getting skills for PMET jobs.
Additionally, Ms Teo pointed out that “Mature workers who have been in the workforce for some time have also made good progress,” noting that workers who are 40 years old and beyond who have a local degree or diploma have been hired for more PMET jobs than expected. The expectation was that only 25 percent would be hired for PMET jobs, but in reality, the figure is closer to 50 percent. -/TISG
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