The Straits Times
Published on Nov 15, 2012

Foreigners needed in 'unpopular' sectors


TUESDAY'S report ("Some 150,000 more foreigners may be needed by 2030") noted that the bulk of these additional foreigners would be maids, with the rest in the health-care and construction industries.

National University of Singapore sociologist Tan Ern Ser said these three sectors "are not particularly attractive employment or career-wise for Singaporeans".

I would add the food and beverage (F&B) and retail sectors to these. Jobs in these areas include hawker stall assistants, waiters, kitchen staff, sales assistants, deliverymen and store assistants.

Even SBS Transit has hired a number of bus drivers from China. I hear that some of the larger transport companies are doing the same to fill posts for truck and van drivers.

It seems these companies have advertised these job openings many times, and the local response has been dismal.

I also hear from friends in the F&B industry that most locals entering this industry want to be in managerial or executive posts, and do not want to wait at tables and clear dishes.

While there is nothing wrong with having aspirations, the problem is that we cannot have everyone serving in management. We need people who do not mind front-line work and are good at it.

Well, if Singaporeans won't do it, then we are going to have to rely on foreigners to help us out.

Matthew Ong