International Business & Economy Why our local IT sector is dominated by foreign talents from India

Why our local IT sector is dominated by foreign talents from India

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By: GLT

Let me share my thoughts on this issue as far as my memories permit.

In the mid-late 90s, while I started my further education in marketing management after failing to complete my 3rd year poly engineering education for a subject failure, our government was strongly encouraging Singaporeans to go into IT sector during that period of time.

In early 2000, the company I worked with was very upset for not getting enough IT specialists on programming tasks. A few locals left after a year or two, as what they were doing was way low-end compared to what they had paid for in education fee to learn.

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In the period between 2003~2008 there was heaps of IT professionals flooding in from India. Employing them was easy and since then our company no longer interested in local IT folks.

Our recruitment director was a Japanese who likes the obedience of Indian talents with every “can can” attitude. They “can can” and then when they cannot, it was the few leftover local IT guys that fixed the problems day in and out. This period also coincide with the government opening up the flood gate for other foreign work force, talent or not. Our workforce was marginalised and placed on back burner.

Fast forward to 2007, the last local IT guy left the company. The friends of India IT professional bring in more friends. Suddenly, study IT was a curse to many who wondered what education was valuable. Interview of local IT job candidates never happened from then on. The Japanese recruiting director who was replaced by Indian director, interviews conducted over phone call and Indian talents turn up next week.

By 2009, many things looks horrible. Even the government lost a GRC. Recruiting non SG/SPR became a HR challenge. Cause and effect, many local IT people were out of picture… and here we are today.

One of the deficiency we have in the education, is spending too much time to train for something the business wants a little and which the company would not pay the premium for.

Remember this paragraph, it is a fact. When you over-train, there is a higher expectation in the workforce. Many times, I failed to understand why a local diploma course that only earns you a wage of $2000 or less per month will take 3 years of education time? Anyone see the reason behind? That is the whole outdated social management agenda beneath.

It is simple to say I would pay $50k p.a. for someone with 4~5 years in experience in IT. Frankly, how do we measure experience? And when you have 10 or even 20 years experience, you would say that’s over qualified. Over qualified became another word to discriminate your age. And when you are young, you are not experienced. So, it would be the Indian IT professionals who are young and experienced, any doubt?

Business will say all it can to get the best worker for the least payout. But in Singapore is unique when someone say we cannot get good minister if we don’t pay them well.

Fortunately, Singapore is starting to change with new “train and place” program by e2i but certainly the speed can run faster. Yet it is the government’s responsibility to further control the foreigner quota in various business sector.

Wondered why there are many foreign workers in construction sector? MOM will tell you that for every Singaporean you employ, you can get 7 more work permits foreigners. Singaporean do not like to work in construction? Nah… any of us would like to get $1600 a month in wage before CPF contribution and work in a high safety risk environment and need to pay much higher insurance cost because the insurance providers classified you as high risk claimant?

Let’s look at what other advanced nation construction sector to think and reflect ourselves as a nation.

Politicians, the last sentence is for you.


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