According to the Ministry of Manpower’s Labour Market 2012 report released late last week, there were higher gains in Singapore’s domestic employment compared to its foreign employment in 2012. Analysis by Singapore company registration specialist Rikvin shows that the Singapore government’s foreign manpower policies have significantly impacted the number of foreign PMETs in Singapore.
Explaining further, Ms. Christine Lim, General Manager of Rikvin said, “In 2012, the qualifying criteria for the Singapore Employment Pass, Personalized Employment Pass and Singapore Dependant’s Pass have been significantly fine-tuned. These enhanced frameworks have made it more competitive to acquire said work visas. Candidates must demonstrate higher salaries as well as professional and educational backgrounds to earn their keep as well as their family’s in Singapore.
The report revealed that 58,700 positions were taken up by Singaporeans in 2012. This represents a 2.9% increase from 2011, which saw 37,900 jobs go to Singaporeans. In contrast, foreign PMET (Professionals, Managers, Executives and Technicians) employment declined sharply from 60,200 in 2011 to 32,200 last year. In percentage terms, this represents a y-o-y decline of 4.8%, from 9.4% growth in 2011. Total foreign employment growth – which included construction and foreign domestic workers (FDWs) – decreased from 84,800 in 2011 to 70,400 last year.
58,700 positions were taken up by Singaporeans in 2012. In contrast, foreign PMET employment declined sharply from 60,200 in 2011 to 32,200 last year.
Further analysis by Rikvin shows that the enhancements in part seek to address the feedback given by Singaporean PMETs that the playing field must be levelled when it comes to hiring opportunities.
“In Singapore, employers must contribute to a Singaporean employee’s Central Provident Fund (CPF) account on top of the monthly wages. This rate varies from 10.5% to 16% of a monthly salary for workers under the age of 60 and earning at least S$1,500. The higher salary thresholds required of foreign workers aim to level the playing field for Singaporean workers and compel employers to consider Singaporeans too when they conduct a hiring exercise. In addition, candidates must demonstrate that their skills are unique and meet the needs of Singapore’s economy,” she added.
“In 2012, 38,200 foreign construction and domestic workers were employed. This year, more measures were announced to slow down the growth of basic to mid-skilled foreign workers in certain sectors. Although unpopular with many sectors, we anticipate the measures will drive the number of work permit holders down this year. In turn, employers will be compelled to get on the productivity bandwagon and assign more functions to every work permit holder,” affirmed Ms. Lim.