Forum: A rich network of talent in Singapore will benefit Singaporeans

We refer to the letters, "Knowledge and skills transfer from global talent easier said than done" by Mr Harry Ong Heng Poh and "Measurable objectives should be set and monitored for One Pass" by Ms Lynne Tan (both Oct 5).

As Mr Ong wrote, Singaporeans in general agree that Singapore needs complementary talent to help our economy to grow.

But direct knowledge and skills transfer from global talent to our local workforce is only one way locals benefit from an open and connected economy. The presence of global talent here will attract global firms to set up shop in Singapore and to expand their operations. This will create more good jobs for Singaporeans.

As Manpower Minister Tan See Leng observed in Parliament on Oct 3, the data bears this out. Over the past five years, more locals held higher-skilled PMET jobs (from 55 per cent in 2016 to 62 per cent in 2021). Moreover, local workers have experienced sustained wage growth across the board.

Real median income of full-time employed residents has grown 2.1 per cent per annum. The new Complementarity Assessment Framework for Employment Pass candidates will let employers select high-quality candidates while encouraging employers to build a strong Singapore core through a points-based system.

Working in global firms and alongside global talent gives local workers exposure to new ideas and best practices. This is key to developing our local leadership bench strength.

Businesses should provide developmental opportunities to local talent, and local workers need to embrace challenging assignments, particularly regional and global positions.

The Government will continue to support our businesses and workers to do so.

The Singapore Business Federation has formed an Alliance for Action on Business Leadership Development to bring together businesses and local leaders to nurture promising Singaporeans.

We assure Ms Tan that Overseas Networks and Expertise (One) Pass holders are expected to contribute to our economy. A pass may be cancelled if there are extended periods of economic inactivity with no good reasons.

At the same time, we should recognise that beyond the tangible contributions of each individual pass holder, Singapore also benefits from anchoring a rich network of talent here. This in turn will attract more businesses and higher-value activities and open up even more opportunities for Singaporeans.

Kenny Tan

Divisional Director, Manpower Policy and Planning Division

Ministry of Manpower

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