Forum: Singaporeans willing and able to fill most PMET jobs

People cross a road in the Central Business District on July 16, 2020.
People cross a road in the Central Business District on July 16, 2020.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

The Straits Times' report on the watch list of businesses exhibiting discriminatory hiring highlights some firms' lack of awareness with regard to local job seekers (Some firms on watch list didn't cast net wide enough for locals, Aug 6).

I would say the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices similarly does not look deep enough into the issue of foreigners displacing Singaporeans in the job market for professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs).

The fact that a number of the companies on the watch list had foreigners comprising more than half of their PMET workforce is disturbing.

A superficial look at the company's proportion of foreigners holding all of its PMET jobs does not give the whole picture.

For example, a company may have foreigners taking up 20 per cent of its total PMET jobs, but the proportion of foreigners in its information technology department may be 90 per cent.

Unlike some categories of jobs that are shunned and which are mostly taken up by work permit holders, PMET jobs are desired by Singaporeans and many are able to fill these posts.

Instead of setting quotas for PMET jobs, Singaporeans should always come first unless the employer is unable to find Singaporeans with sufficient experience and/or knowledge. There are not many sectors in which Singaporeans are not capable of filling positions.

Colin Loh Yoon Fui

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 08, 2020, with the headline 'Singaporeans willing and able to fill most PMET jobs'. Subscribe