SINGAPORE'S productivity is "well below that in the most developed countries", said Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam.
But the solution is not to ease up on foreign worker policies, he said in a Facebook post last night.
He had written the post in response to a Sunday Times report about the difficulty restaurants here face in hiring employees.
He said that those who have been in restaurants or coffee bars in the United States, Europe or Japan can see the difference.
"They have fewer workers, but are able to do well. The same employee handles more duties, and serves more tables. The employees are well-paid, both full-time and part-time," he wrote.
To be well-trained, have pride in their work and be well-paid is what productivity is about, said the Finance Minister.
He said everyone has a part to play: Employers need to transform the way they run their businesses and share productivity gains with their employees through higher pay.
Employees need to keep learning on the job. The Government needs to keep its foreign worker policy tight, but also support upgrading and upskilling in every sector.
Customers also should treat workers with respect.