SINGAPORE: A recruiter took to social media to explain why she would rather hire a foreigner than an NUS undergraduate.

In her post on NUSWhispers’ Facebook page, she expressed her disappointment over the salary expectations and work preferences of NUS undergraduates. 

According to her, many of them have been asking for pay much higher than the median despite having no experience, and they all seemed to prefer working remotely for at least half or all of their working days.

She added that these undergraduates frequently stress the importance of a “good work-life balance” during the interview and request not to be interrupted during weekends or evenings.

“This makes foreigners look much more attractive,” she said. “I can get someone from ASEAN or further with 4–8 years of experience at the compensation of the median fresh graduate.

They are willing to work much harder and don’t job hop. I don’t have to pay their CPF or worry about them going for reservist.”

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She then stated that she only hires Singaporeans to fulfil the quotas and obtain EDB subsidies. “Without those, I’ll be blunt, Singaporeans are too overpaid and underqualified for every role.”

With the recent considerations for flexible work arrangements, the recruiter says she sees even less reason to prioritize local workers. She stated, “If you want to WFH, I might as well get someone else remotely at a cheaper rate.”

“You either live with it or bring your business elsewhere”

In the comments section, numerous netizens were livid at the recruiter and said that if her company refuses to hire local Singaporean workers, they’ll take their business elsewhere.

One netizen said, “This is the thing, you have no choice due to quotas etc. Singapore grads are protected by the govt thats why not hungry. You either live with it or bring your business elsewhere.”

They also defended the undergraduates who made such requests from recruiters, arguing that they were simply seeking fair or higher compensation because of the current high cost of living and the soaring prices of HDB flats and rent.

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Regarding the desire for remote work, they pointed out that if the job can be performed effectively without needing physical office presence, then there should be no reason to deny these undergraduates that option.

One netizen said, “If it’s in an industry where work can be done remotely, why not? Get out of the Industrial Revolution mentality. Clearly you’ve learned nothing from the experiences of the pandemic and/or are stuck in the boomer mentality.

Many times it’s not the Singaporean graduates being “entitled”; it’s Singaporean employers wanting workers for the lowest possible cost while seeking to wring every last drop out of them, viewing them as mindless automatons to be controlled at the flick of a switch. Get your head straight.”

Another netizen also recalled his negative experience working with foreign employees. He wrote, “Yeah, I’ve heard that argument before.

Then have had 8 year experience foreign colleagues that don’t know how to do the most basic things, come in at 3pm and start eating lunch, and vanished for 8 hours while on the job (not even remote, he disappeared onsite). Good luck.”

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A few even questioned the validity of her claims, with one netizen saying, “How about you tell us your company’s name first so that we can verify your story?”

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