Saturday, May 30, 2015

How Singaporeans can compete with foreigners for jobs

In recent years, there was a large influx of foreigners who have replaced Singaporeans for the middle management and technical jobs. Employers prefer the foreigners who are willing to accept lower salaries, are more "obedient", do not job hop and are not disrupted by reservist duties.

Singaporeans have complained about the loss of jobs to foreigners. In some companies, the displacement is quite noticeable.

The government has responded by cutting down the issuing of work passes to foreigners but this has not solved the problem. It is a complex issue and any approach will have negative consequences that need to be solved.

I wish to give a few suggestions about what Singaporeans should do to ensure that they can compete better for these jobs in Singapore.

1)  Be realistic about your expectation.  Singaporeans do expect high salaries, especially if they have obtained a degree at great expense of money and time. They also have to meet the high cost of living in Singapore. But employers pay according to productivity and the high salary expectation will put Singaporeans into a disadvantage. This issue is most difficult to solve.

2)  Be productive. Many Singaporeans spent too much time on getting a degree which they do not fit into the requirements of the job. They need to learn the skills that are needed for the job. A good approach is to accept a job that pays lower, and use the opportunity to acquire the skills that are needed for the job.

3) Be patient. It is easy for a Singaporean to find another job in a tight labor market. If you change job too often, you do not acquire the skills. Instead, you will get a bad reputation and the new employer will avoid you. It is better to be patient and to stay with the same employer for a longer time. Even if the work environment is not conducive, learn to adapt to it. The next place may not be any better.

I know that it is difficult for many Singaporeans to take my suggestions to lower their expectation, to learn new skills and to be patient. While we can continue to press the government to give better protection to Singaporeans, especially those who have sacrificed for the country by serving National Service,  it is better for us to do something on our own to become more valuable to our employers.

Singaporeans do have some advantages to offset the negative points mentioned above. We know Singapore better and have better connections and networks. We should be able to compete better, if we minimize our negative points.

1 comment:

Winston Tham said...

Priority should be given to Singapore citizens in all jobs esp. Pmets. Employees must be made to submit proofs why Singapore applicants are rejected in favor of foreigners .
Citizens should be treated as sons and daughters of Singapore family business to be given best priority .
Certain races of foreign bosses here tend to employ many of their own race often from their own country ...this must be eradicated with same vigor as our HDB allocation of flats to different races.

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