Forum: Wage subsidy scheme only a temporary fix

It is comforting to see that the wage subsidy scheme launched in September last year has spurred many companies to hire local workers (Wage subsidy scheme spurs many firms to hire more locals, April 1).

While this should be applauded, it is but a temporary fix. The wage subsidy cannot continue indefinitely.

When the subsidy is withdrawn, companies are likely to revert to their old ways. Employing locals and mature workers is neither financially beneficial nor the most convenient option for some of them.

The root causes of the problems include skills mismatch, easy and cheap access to foreign talent, and discriminatory hiring practices by some firms. We need a more holistic approach to tackling these issues.

While a huge influx of foreign talent from certain countries may cause some discomfort, foreign talent in itself is not the issue. Singaporeans acknowledge that Singapore will always need foreign talent and must keep its doors open to them.

Singapore perpetually finds itself caught in a bind of skills mismatch and a high dependence on foreign talent. It is time for us to critically re-examine all our systems and fix the root causes of the problems.

Patrick Tan