SINGAPORE: Businesses should diversify their foreign workforce and avoid being reliant on manpower from any one place, said Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing on Tuesday (Dec 3).
Speaking at the bicentennial commemoration dinner organised by the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry (SCCCI), Mr Chan spoke about how Singapore has always been a place of opportunity for global and regional individuals and businesses.
While diversity has been a strength for Singapore, he said, the country must be careful that it does not form cracks in society.
"At this moment in history, there is increasing anxiety globally over the loss of opportunities to those perceived as 'outsiders'," said Mr Chan in a prepared speech sent to the media.
He urged employers to continue to invest and provide workers with the opportunities to upgrade and advance themselves.
At the same time, he also encouraged businesses to diversify their foreign workforce, avoid depending on a single source - or a few markets or customers - for revenue or resources, and to avoid being reliant on manpower from any one place.
For companies with foreign employees, more can be done to help them understand and connect with the "broader society" and gain social acceptance, said Mr Chan.
"Businesses have an important part to play in continuing to engender the social acceptance necessary for our manpower needs to be met in a sustainable way," said Mr Chan.
"As our multicultural social norms can be rather unfamiliar to foreign employees, it is important that we go beyond integrating them into our companies, but to also help them understand and connect with the broader society," he added.
SCCCI's bicentennial commemoration dinner at Shangri-La Hotel was attended by 720 people, including senior government officials, diplomats, business leaders, cultural and community organisations and trade associations.
Established in 1906, the SCCCI is the apex body of the Chinese business community in Singapore. It has 5,000 corporate members and more than 160 trade association members.