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ST Forum writer says it is not Government’s role to ensure employability

By January 10, 2020Current, Work

TL;DR – #unpopularopinion

In a letter to the Straits Times forum, Mr Johann Loh Runming expresses his #unpopularopinion that Singaporeans should reflect on themselves if they start to feel that they have become uncompetitive with respect to global hiring.

He also shares that he thinks that it is not the Government’s role to reassure Singaporeans about their employability.

Here are some of the things he pointed out in his letter to support his case:

1) The Government has already done an admirable job of attracting foreign companies to set up businesses in Singapore

Loh explains that this is not an easy feat especially in a world where cities are competing heavily to attract investment, and Singaporeans should appreciate this.

In other words, these foreign companies could have set up their shop elsewhere, along with their globalised workforce instead of coming to Singapore.

2) It is not possible to force foreign companies to deliberately hire locals

It wouldn’t be desirable as well, Loh adds.

This is because businesses by their very nature would want to hire people who can use their expertise to advance their own interests and profitability. And to do otherwise is to go against the very purpose of a company in a capitalist economy.

3) It is every Singaporean’s own responsibility to secure his/her own employability

Loh suggests that Singaporeans can do so by ensuring that we have the right skills and can fit in with global corporate culture, norms, and expectations.

He also adds that parents can too help to ensure that their children have the right skills and values to become desirable employees, be it at small and medium-sized enterprises or multinational corporations.

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Loh concluded his letter by reminding fellow Singaporeans that to demand that the Government take control over one’s life and guarantee employability is an abdication of personal responsibility, and it also reflects an undesirable character trait to any employer.

You can read the full letter below:

It was with great disappointment that I read about the apparent need for the Government to reassure Singaporeans about their employability (Chan Chun Sing addresses fears over foreign talent, Jan 7).

To begin with, the Government has already done an admirable job of attracting foreign companies – along with their globalised workforce – to set up shop in Singapore.

We should appreciate this as it is no mean feat in a world where cities are competing heavily to attract investment.

Getting any government in the world to force foreign companies to deliberately hire locals is neither possible nor desirable.

Businesses, by their very nature, hire to advance their own interests and profitability. To do otherwise is to go against the very purpose of a company in a capitalist economy.

If Singaporeans feel that they have become uncompetitive with respect to global hiring, let us reflect on why this is so.

I would hope that every Singaporean is responsible for securing his own employability, by ensuring that he has the right skills and can fit in with global corporate culture, norms and expectations.

Parents ought to ensure that their children have the right skills and values to become desirable employees, whether at small and medium-sized enterprises or multinational corporations.

Demanding that the Government take control over one’s life and guarantee employability is an abdication of personal responsibility.

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And, ironically, it reflects an undesirable character trait to any employer – foreign or otherwise.

Johann Loh Runming

 

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Gabrielle Teo

Author Gabrielle Teo

I read lots, and I also spend an indecent amount of time trying to get my mostly unpopular opinions published. Oh, I argue a lot with fellow Singaporeans who complain incessantly about Singapore too.

More posts by Gabrielle Teo

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