The Ministry of Manpower's decision to place 47 employers on a watch list, in addition to 1,200 placed on it earlier, suggests that the fair hiring message is not getting through to many companies. Errant employers must understand that they are up against the weight of both public and official opinion. There are concerns among local job seekers that they are not getting a fair deal in a tough job market, and that some employers appear biased against Singaporeans. This is exactly the kind of situation that the Fair Consideration Framework watch list seeks to correct by putting bosses on notice that they are under the ministry's scrutiny so that they do not take advantage of Singapore's flexible labour market policies.
Not all employers who choose foreigners over locals may be making a deliberate decision. Some are not familiar with the skill set of job seekers and with official support measures to help local workers reskill and upskill. Some firms say they are unable to find locals with the necessary soft skills, specialist expertise or experience, when the truth is that they may not have cast their net wide enough, including by tapping professional conversion programmes. This scheme and labour policies have a purpose that is tailored to the needs of employers and employees.