However, the influx of foreigners in Singapore cannot be denied. Filipinos /China Chinese in call centers, shop assistants, McDonalds, bank tellers, auditors, real estate agents, financial advisers, the list goes on. Seriously? These are the foreign talents that Singapore requires? I thought the Government said they hire foreigners for jobs which Singaporeans don't want or do not have the experience in.
I accept that we might not have the global know how of a good CEO. So sure, bring those in.
Maybe Singaporeans don't want to be in the construction business or cleaners. Sure, bring them in too.
But sales assistants, bank tellers, auditors, technicians? These are good jobs. I'm sure that there are Singaporeans willing to take these jobs. Allowing foreigners to take up these jobs provide an uneven playing field for Singaporeans. These "foreign talents" are able to earn enough money in 5-10 years and return to their countries to live a good life. Leaving the high cost of living in Singapore and effectively doubling their money when they return to their home countries. As such, they are able/willing to work at a lower pay in Singapore so as to secure a job and start saving and working to their good life in future.
This pushes down the salaries for other Singaporean workers and to remain competitive, Singaporeans will have to either increase productivity or decrease their cost/salary.
Let's first talk about increasing productivity. A Singaporean fresh grad vs a foreign fresh grad. I doubt there is any significance in productivity as both are inexperienced. An experienced hire vs 2 foreign fresh grads, well, it may actually make good business sense to hire 2 fresh grads instead of paying 2 times more for an experienced hire. It's questionable depending on the industry. If Singaporeans are willing to or have to accept lower pay, then we don't really have another lower standard of living country to return to when we want to retire. This puts Singaporean workers at a disadvantage in future as it makes it extremely difficult for Singaporeans to plan for their future and well being in Singapore.
Some folks in the Government has mentioned that if Singaporeans are unhappy in Singapore, we can always leave to other countries. That's the problem. It's not that easy. The other countries have stringent criteria before foreign workers are hired there. So it's a simple economics situation. Other countries don't take foreign workers. Keeping their supply low so that wages can move in tandem with the economy. Singapore keeps the supply high resulting in suppressed wages which do not move in tandem with the economy. With lower wages for workers, costs are kept low, companies make more profit, keeping GDP high resulting in high/higher inflation and standard/cost of living. This does not bode well for the remaining citizens of the country as the cost of living increases much faster than wages can catch up.
On a lighter note, maybe the policies recently put in place to curtail foreign workers will help the Singaporean workers a bit. The thing is that the Government has put this curb in place for almost all industries without differentiating which industries need additional manpower which results in less manpower available for the service industry. Restaurants and construction are feeling some heat resulting in potentially lower service standards. But I've not done much research into these curbs so I'll refrain from commenting too much on it. I'm just thinking that maybe the restrictions could be more specific to industries and job scope so as to better allocate the Singaporean resources and the foreign resources. Example, we may need more waiters, shop attendants, which we could potentially source from other countries. But instead leave the specialized jobs like PMET (professionals, managers, executives, technicians) for Singaporeans. Also, do we really need more real estate agents and financial advisers such that we need to hire them from other countries?
As I've mentioned. I'm not against foreigners. I think we need more manpower in certain industries so we do have to hire from outside of Singapore. However, I hope/wish that this economic problem could be solved better, that is, that resources could be channeled/reallocated to the right places which require the resources so that the foreign talents will be filling up the gaps which cannot/will not be filled up by Singaporeans naturally, instead of displacing Singaporeans from our country and jobs.
<<PREVIOUS POST // NEXT POST>>