Help willing locals who want to sign up for 'unattractive' jobs

The Government should introduce a portal where employers in sectors that are unattractive to local workers can be matched to Singaporean workers who are keen to work in these areas.
The Government should introduce a portal where employers in sectors that are unattractive to local workers can be matched to Singaporean workers who are keen to work in these areas.PHOTO: ST FILE

As a city-state that thrives on international trade and being a connecting node to the world, we need to balance prioritising the needs of locals and welcoming foreign talents.

The debate of foreign talents versus a local base needs more data. What are the areas where a critical mass of talent is needed and where locals aspire to work? And what are the areas that are an important part of our growth but are less attractive to local workers, hence the need to welcome foreign workers?

I would say the latter is what frustrates some locals, who would like to work in these less attractive sectors but, often, find themselves unable to gain entry due to employers' perceptions and a higher dependency ceiling ratio.

I suggest that the Government introduce a portal where employers in sectors that are unattractive to local workers can be matched to Singaporean workers who are keen to work in these areas.

As the salary and benefits in these areas may be less attractive, the Government can provide wage support to these companies for Singaporean workers or provide one-off incentives for Singaporeans who join the sectors for at least a year.

This may address employers' concerns of not being able to find Singaporean workers in some sectors.

Liu Rijing

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 12, 2019, with the headline 'Help willing locals who want to sign up for 'unattractive' jobs'. Print Edition | Subscribe