Some firms on watch list for possible discriminatory hiring didn't cast net wide enough for locals

Some others assumed that they lacked the exposure to function across multiple countries: MOM

Some firms claimed they were unable to find local workers with the required expertise or experience, including for more technical roles such as senior software engineers and UX designers.
Some firms claimed they were unable to find local workers with the required expertise or experience, including for more technical roles such as senior software engineers and UX designers.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

The latest watch list of businesses exhibiting discriminatory hiring shows a wealth management firm had a workforce in which almost three quarters of its PMETs were from the same nationality.

Others had foreigners comprising more than half of their pool of professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs), much more than their industry peers.

In addition, 30 of the 47 employers newly placed on the Fair Consideration Framework (FCF) watch list are from the financial service and professional service sectors.

This brings the total from these two sectors, put on the watch list since 2016, to 190.

The Manpower Ministry (MOM) said yesterday that in engaging these employers, the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (Tafep) found they were often not familiar with the skill set of local job seekers as well as the Government's support measures to reskill and upskill local workers.

For example, some firms claimed they were unable to find local workers with the required expertise or experience, including for more technical roles such as senior software engineers and UX designers. The fact is they had not cast their net wide enough, such as by tapping Professional Conversion Programmes (PCPs), the ministry noted.

Other employers assumed that local workers lacked the global exposure necessary to function effectively across the multiple countries that they operate in, as some roles, such as portfolio manager or product manager, require market-specific knowledge, it said.

It added that through Tafep's intervention, most employers reviewed their hiring practices to give local job seekers a fair chance.

"They adjusted their hiring process to actively expand their search networks to reach out to more local candidates and tapped Workforce Singapore and NTUC-e2i's services, as well as programmes for training and upskilling such as free workshops for emerging technologies.

"As a result, these employers found that they were able to hire local employees to meet their manpower needs, and now have in place a more sustainable recruitment and development strategy to drive their growth in Singapore.

"The employers also participated in internship and management trainee programmes to build and develop the local talent pool."

 
 
 

More than 100 employers from these two sectors have been taken off the watch list after demonstrating a strong commitment to improve their hiring practices.

The ministry yesterday urged all employers to adopt exemplary employment practices, by tapping the various government schemes to develop a strong Singaporean core.

It said that to build the local talent pool in the financial service and professional service sectors, the Government has a range of programmes, such as the Monetary Authority of Singapore's training schemes; the Institute of Banking and Finance Singapore's Technology in Finance Immersion Programme; and Workforce Singapore's PCPs for the professional service sector.

It urged people to report specific instances of discriminatory behaviour on Tafep's website.

Employers who breach fair hiring requirements will be barred from hiring foreign workers or renewing their passes for up to two years, and may face prosecution, if they made false declarations on fair consideration.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 06, 2020, with the headline 'Some firms on watch list didn't cast net wide enough for locals'. Subscribe