What does HR really think of the FCF?

by Miklos Bolza12 Jan 2016
The introduction of the Fair Consideration Framework (FCF) and the various resulting changes were designed to encourage greater hiring of local employees and the strengthening of the Singaporean workforce. But has it really achieved these aims?
Recruitment firm, Astbury Marsden, recently conducted an investigation on the matter asking 710 middle to senior ranking professionals across a range of financial sectors.
The report found that 82 per cent of HR employees surveyed believe their employers were hiring a greater number of Singaporean staff as a direct result of the FCF. This shows that about four in five HR staff think that the framework has indeed achieved its goals.
Additionally, 64 per cent believe the FCF will make it more difficult for foreign nationals to find work in Singapore during 2016.
When it was first introduced, one of the main concerns was that the FCF may lead to an artificial inflation in wages.
“With roles paying over $12,000 per month exempt from the ruling, businesses could conceivably increase salaries to attract the candidate they want, rather than being constrained by the rules,” Mark O’Reilly, managing director for Asia Pacific at Astbury Marsden, said.
Amongst the HR professionals surveyed, 46 per cent thought that base salary had increased under the FCF while 45 per cent believed it had decreased. Nine per cent believed there was no change.
This means approximately one in two HR staff think the framework is causing added wage pressure on the workforce.
Lastly, about 62 per cent of HR professionals surveyed thought the FCF would ultimately have an adverse effect on Singapore’s competitiveness.
“Whilst the FCF attempts to ensure that businesses provide a fair assessment of the skills available locally, in isolation, it does not address the issue of how to develop missing skillsets,” O’Reilly said. “It will be interesting to see how the private sector responds to tighter employment controls.”
So while most HR professionals see the FCF as strengthening the Singaporean core, there are real concerns that it has also had negative effects on both wage pressure and competitiveness.
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