MPs call for action on Singapore’s main manpower flaws

by Miklos Bolza27 Jan 2016
Three key areas in which HR needs to step up and improve have been identified by Singapore members of parliament: professionals, managers and executives (PMEs), freelancers, and low-wage workers.
 
Protection for professionals
 
Veteran MP Cedric Foo highlighted the need for greater safeguards for PMEs and said that locals could face discrimination from foreign employers who preferred workers from their own country.
 
“This is prevalent in certain sectors of our economy and also in certain companies more than others,” he told The Straits Times.
 
One reason for this is that there is currently no quota or limit on the number of foreign professionals a company can hire, he said.
 
Foo Mee Har, MP for the West Coast GRC, said that firms employing an unusually high number of PMEs should be called upon to correct this imbalance.
 
They should also “submit a detailed plan on how they intend to train and develop Singaporeans for those jobs,” she added.
 
The freelance talent pool
 
Labour MP, Ang Hin Kee from the Ang Mo Kio GRC, said that HR should see the growing number of local freelancers as a resource and not cheap labour. There are currently around 200,000 freelancers in Singapore.
 
As unions have opened up to freelancers, it is time that businesses do the same, he said.
 
“As freelance work grows to become a popular career choice, it is timely to tailor policies to be more inclusive to freelancers.”
 
Making low-wage worthwhile
 
Another labour MP, Zainal Sapari, from the Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC, pointed out that many low-wage workers in non-unionised companies have yet to receive the higher pay suggested in the National Wages Council’s (NWC) guidelines.
 
Since 2012, the NWC has suggested four rounds of pay increases of at least S$50 for workers earning up to S$1,000.
 
However, “employers view NWC’s recommendations as merely guidelines,” said Zainal.
 
He suggested firms provide annual salary increments to low-wage workers’ basic pay. Annual supplements or a 13th month bonus should also be supplied.
 
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Singapore must curb foreign worker growth, says Workers’ Party
 
Prime Minister Lee offers advice all HRDs should heed
 
Minister slams assault of foreign workers

COMMENTS

  • by Steven 27/1/2016 10:14:47 AM

    The PAP MPs are barking up the wrong tree by accusing corporations of manpower flaws. MPs should put heat on the government. To quote MP Zainal, areas like training of local staff and hiring older Singaporeans are not legislated; its only guidelines for firms to follow. With no proper legislation like what they do in UK and Australia, companies will continue to hire based on current legislation. Why the fear to put such legislation?

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