SINGAPORE: More Singaporean PMETs are finding employment, showing that efforts to get companies to hire locals first have been successful.
Over the past three years, the number of employment pass (EP) holders grew by 17,000. But this was eclipsed by the growth of local professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMET) employment, which increased by 105,000 during the same period, or some six times, said Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say.
Mr Lim was speaking at the Institute of Banking and Finance (IBF) Singapore’s Distinction Evening on Friday (Sep 29).
This is a reversal from the three years between 2011 and 2013, Mr Lim said, when the employment of S Pass and EP holders combined exceeded the growth of local PMETs.
The FCF, which was introduced in 2014 and further strengthened in 2016, has led to a fair and balanced outcome for business and people, said Mr Lim.
There are now about 300 companies with unfair hiring practices on MOM's watchlist and EP applications are subject to closer scrutiny, he said.
Mr Lim said that Singapore has had to maintain a fine balance between being pro-business and being pro-worker.
While some businesses felt that Ministry of Manpower (MOM) was “not pro-business enough” and should have let in more foreign workers to make up for the slowdown in local workforce growth, some Singaporeans have said the flow of foreign manpower should have been tightened much more, he said.
“From MOM’s perspective, liberalising the inflow of foreign manpower is a win-lose: businesses win but workers lose. Over tightening the inflow of foreign manpower is a lose-win: businesses lose but workers win. And this is only in the short term. Eventually, in the longer term, whether it is a win-lose or lose-win, both will become lose-lose, as neither is sustainable.”
The Minister also said there is a need to maximise the full potential of workers and enhance the inclusiveness of the workforce.
More has to be done to minimise redundancy caused by tech disruptions, said Mr Lim, who cited the finance industry and said he was “most encouraged by the commitment of major consumer banks”, to retrain 3,500 existing employees over the next few years.
The IBF has also come up with a new digital curriculum for the industry to recognise a suite of capabilities under its “IBF standards”, which is a roadmap for financial sector professionals.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore’s (MAS) Managing Director Ravi Menon said: “The next step is for financial institutions to work with their staff, particularly those in jobs undergoing transformation, to help them explore possible pathways and acquire the skills of the future.”
Mr Menon, who is also chairman of IBF, added: “Ultimately, whether we transform and succeed will depend on our finance professionals taking ownership of their own professional development.“