Forum: Not Government's role to ensure employability

People crossing the road at Shenton Way, on March 29, 2019.
People crossing the road at Shenton Way, on March 29, 2019.PHOTO: ST FILE

It was with great disappointment that I read about the apparent need for the Government to reassure Singaporeans about their employability (Chan Chun Sing addresses fears over foreign talent, Jan 7).

To begin with, the Government has already done an admirable job of attracting foreign companies - along with their globalised workforce - to set up shop in Singapore.

We should appreciate this as it is no mean feat in a world where cities are competing heavily to attract investment.

Getting any government in the world to force foreign companies to deliberately hire locals is neither possible nor desirable.

Businesses, by their very nature, hire to advance their own interests and profitability. To do otherwise is to go against the very purpose of a company in a capitalist economy.

If Singaporeans feel that they have become uncompetitive with respect to global hiring, let us reflect on why this is so.

I would hope that every Singaporean is responsible for securing his own employability, by ensuring that he has the right skills and can fit in with global corporate culture, norms and expectations.

Parents ought to ensure that their children have the right skills and values to become desirable employees, whether at small and medium-sized enterprises or multinational corporations.

Demanding that the Government take control over one's life and guarantee employability is an abdication of personal responsibility.

And, ironically, it reflects an undesirable character trait to any employer - foreign or otherwise.

Johann Loh Runming

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 10, 2020, with the headline 'Not Govt's role to ensure employability'. Print Edition | Subscribe