SINGAPORE - About three in four white-collar jobs in growth sectors - such as healthcare, finance and insurance services, and information and communications - are filled by Singaporeans and permanent residents (PRs), said Manpower Minister Josephine Teo.
Releasing the data in Parliament on Tuesday (Feb 18), Mrs Teo said the Government has helped Singaporeans secure good jobs through job creation, motivating workers to upgrade their skill sets, promoting fair hiring, and investing in education and training.
She said: "To help Singaporeans, we must make every effort to keep up these efforts, instead of focusing narrowly on displacing PRs and foreigners in our workforce."
She added: "That is a zero-sum game which will cause companies to rethink locating their high-value activities in Singapore. The end result will not serve Singaporeans' best interests."
Mrs Teo was responding to Workers' Party chief Pritam Singh, who had asked about the number of PMET (professionals, managers, executives and technicians) jobs held by foreigners and PRs because of an insufficient number of qualified Singaporeans to fill them.
Mr Singh also asked the Manpower Ministry to name industries that find it difficult to attract or hire Singaporeans for PMET jobs, the results of initiatives aimed to help more Singaporeans get into such roles, and the ways that the Government ensures that Singaporeans pick up the necessary skills from PRs and foreigners who are currently in the positions.
Mrs Teo said the ministry works closely with agencies to place locals into PMET jobs in sectors with good growth potential.
She noted that the Adapt and Grow initiative has helped more than 48,000 local job seekers get placed in PMET roles over the past three years.
Workforce Singapore and industry agencies have also placed more than 10,000 mid-career locals into PMET jobs in growth sectors, she added.
Mrs Teo said the Government has helped locals take up a wide range of jobs, including data analysts, digital advertising professionals and technical sales engineers.
Results from professional conversion programmes have been encouraging as well, she noted, pointing out that about nine in 10 programme participants remained employed two years after placement.
About seven in 10 participants earned higher salaries than before, Mrs Teo said.
Citing the latest Graduate Employment Survey for the 2019 batch, Mrs Teo said that about nine in 10 university and polytechnic graduates who entered the labour force were employed within six months after graduating or completing their full-time national service.
This figure has remained stable over the past decade, she said, pointing out that the employment outcome is a good indicator of whether Singaporeans are acquiring skills for PMET jobs.
"Mature workers who have been in the workforce for some time have also made good progress," Mrs Teo said.
She noted that it was remarkable how workers aged 40 and over with a local diploma or degree have exceeded expectations by filling up more PMET jobs than expected.
Only one in four were expected to fill the roles, based on their qualifications, but about one in two are currently in these positions.