Are Singaporeans disadvantaged compared to foreigners for jobs?

By January 31, 2019Current

TL;DR – Easy or not?

Let’s call a spade a spade. We all know that landing a job in Singapore isn’t exactly the easiest and one of the most widely-discussed topics when it comes to employment is whether foreign hires have it easier.

In a thread on question-and-answer site Quora titled In the Singapore job market, are Singaporeans disadvantaged compared to foreign hires?, user Bill Chen offered his views which has since been viewed over 738 times in less than 12 hours.

In the Singapore job market, are Singaporeans disadvantaged compared to foreign hires?

Bill Chen’s answer: This will be a superficial answer because I don’t have hard data, and I’m no expert on labor. Paradoxically, Singaporeans at both ends of the job market are the least disadvantaged. For example, the vast majority of professionals are Singaporean, especially in the fields of l…

In his reply, he mentioned a rather interesting point – that Singaporeans at both ends of the job market are the least disadvantaged.

Singaporeans First

The vast majority of professionals are Singaporean, especially in the fields of law and medicine while the least tedious low-wage positions such as cleaners and security officers are also reserved for Singaporeans, especially the older generation with poor education. 

He attributes this to tripartism – where cheaper, younger foreigners could have been hired but Singaporeans are hired readily at higher pay hence creating mass employment for those who can barely speak English in modern Singapore.

He also mentions how the civil service hires citizens almost exclusively. Many jobs in the Police, Civil Defense, Armed Forces and Ministries are citizens-only and not to mention the statutory boards such as HDB and CPF. There are also government-linked companies and corporations with substantial stakes owned by Temasek with hiring policies supposedly shaped by the government to put Singaporeans first.

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Singapore is at full employment

That is to say, any healthy citizen who wants a job can find one.  However, ideal remuneration is an issue. Singaporeans who are aged 30+ looking in the $2–5k bracket may find job-seeking uncomfortable. Then there’s also NS liability which he says can be a “huge burden” and reservist due to citizen obligations may disadvantage Singaporeans, some more than others.

You can read the full response here.

(Cover image via)

 

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Flora Isabelle Lim

Author Flora Isabelle Lim

On a constant quest to be a really professional internet person.

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