National jobs portal upgraded to curb unfair hiring practices

New features to help firms follow guidelines, enable job seekers to better report breaches

Three new features have been rolled out on the national jobs portal MyCareersFuture to strengthen progressive hiring practices among employers.

In a joint statement yesterday, Workforce Singapore (WSG), the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (Tafep) and the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said a key thrust of the portal is to "provide as many job seekers as possible a fair chance at the roles advertised".

These are the new features, which aim to set a new standard for other job portals to follow.

1. PROMPTING EMPLOYERS TO ABIDE BY GUIDELINES WHEN POSTING JOB ADS

An Employer Prompt feature reminds employers to adhere to the Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices (TGFEP) when crafting job postings, and before they are published on MyCareersFuture.

2. BETTER GUIDANCE FOR EMPLOYERS TO CRAFT NEUTRAL JOB ADS

Social listening technology is used to review all job postings listed on MyCareersFuture, and potentially discriminatory terms or mentions are flagged to employers.

Employers will be guided on how they can improve their job postings to attract and find the most suitable candidates, said the agencies. Employers will also be expected to amend discriminatory job advertisements.

3. MAKING IT EASIER TO REPORT POSSIBLE DISCRIMINATION

The Report Discriminatory Job Ads feature allows job seekers to conveniently report any objectionable posting they come across on MyCareersFuture. Tafep will review the reports and investigate any breaches of the TGFEP.

Yesterday's announcement comes amid concerns from local job seekers that they are not getting a fair deal in a tough labour market, and that some employers are biased against Singaporeans.

In August, a fresh group of 47 employers were placed on the Fair Consideration Framework (FCF) watch list for potentially discriminatory hiring practices.

Since January, the ministry has suspended the work pass privileges of 90 employers under the framework, of which 45 were due to the posting of discriminatory job advertisements.

The FCF was introduced in 2014 to maintain a strong Singaporean core in professional, manager, executive and technician (PMET) jobs. It sets out the requirements for employers to consider the local workforce fairly for openings, including those for job advertisements.

WSG, Tafep and MOM said all employers must ensure that they do not use phrases that indicate a preference for certain groups of staff.

They cited the example of a private school which posted an advertisement for a legal manager on MyCareersFuture in July, stating its preference for candidates aged below 30.

As the position involved more than 60 business trips a year, the employer had assumed that older employees would not be able to cope with the frequent travel.

For breaching the TGFEP, the employer was barred from hiring foreigners and renewing the work passes of its existing foreign employees for 12 months.

Tafep general manager Faith Li said: "We look forward to working with more job portals so that more employers and job seekers can benefit from fair and progressive employment practices."

Dr Joyce Tan, WSG's director for digital experience for career services, said: "To build an inclusive hiring culture is crucial in this climate and we are glad to be able to play our part to empower the public to be involved through the use of technology."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 11, 2020, with the headline 'National jobs portal upgraded to curb unfair hiring practices'. Subscribe