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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Foreign Labour Dilemma

Although I am not an employer, like many of them, I too feel that Singapore need all these foreign labour. There was a time when I was in charge of a department which was always in need of staff. Every time we put up a ad for staff, we get applications from mainly foreigners. M, said the same thing too. Whenever she has an opening to fill, she always get applications from Filipino and in recent years even Australia and New Zealanders even though she was just looking for conveyancing clerk!

My friend who runs a chain of retail outlets employs mainly Filipino because he said he can't get Singaporean or even Malaysian. Nobody want to work in the retail line because of shift work.Some of  my clients also complained about the same thing. Singaporean don't want to dirty their hands and want to be supervisor and manager immediately upon graduation! 

And I can imagine the look of horror on parents face if their children were to said they want to work as construction workers or cleaners! Hell, even I couldn't want my kids to be in retail, food and beverages  or any sort of work that requires menial labour.

So employers got no choice but to turn to foreign labour right?

Actually I am not so sure now. I mean I read all the posts that have been written about how cheap foreign labour is the cause of the problems and I think hey, they got a point! If there is no cheap foreign labour, employers will have no choice but to be more creative in structuring their job and offering a better remuneration. With more pays, the local will be willing to take up the jobs and volia, problem solved! Is it?

Unfortunately, I don't think so. As it is now, Singapore has almost full employment. Nobody I  know personally is out of job at the moment. Sure I heard of friends of friends who have been retrenched and cannot find work and it seems most of these people are the baby boomers. I have no illusion that if my company decide to let me go now, at my current age I will probably never be able to get a job as an employee and maybe has to become an property agent or taxi driver! 

I don't pity the government in trying to solve this problem. Some might said they created the problem. In a way it is true but I doubt having minimum wages or banning foreign labour as many are clamouring for is the answer. 

To me the cause of the problem is that we have became a nation of educated peeps. With education, nobody will want to do menial jobs. People with an ITE cert or an O level cert will not want to be construction worker or cleaner or even security guard. Maybe to solve the labour problem, we need to look at tweaking our education system so that there are more failures who will then take up these low paying jobs? Sorry I am just kidding.

On the other hand, I don't like the way tee various trade organisations and employers are putting pressure on the government so that they can continue to employ cheap foreign labour. If their business really cannot operate without foreign labour, then I think they are simply inefficient and should just fold up! The law of the jungle - survival of the fittest! Singapore will be a better place without these companies.

Finally I think the gahmen is barking up the wrong tree when they come up with their latest restrictions on foreign labour. Instead of making it difficult for employers to employ the really low skilled workers, whose jobs no Singaporean wants, they should be looking at restricting the many foreigners doing mid level work in the IT; banking and service sectors. Me think that is the main source of people unhappiness and their grouse is not with the construction workers or the cleaners or even the retail and wait staff at our shops and food outlets.

1 comment:

  1. Aiyah in this society, with ageing, just a matter of time anybody be replaced in a workplace. Maybe for you be prepared work at macdonald clearing tables lor, don't wear black face though scare away customers! or open fish shop sell fish, pass time. LOL