Singapore’s Jobless Rate 2%, Claims Hiring Bias Against Locals

Filed under: International,Labor,News,Unemployment |

Singapore’s jobless rate declined from 2.1% to 2% in third quarter ending, 30 Sept. 2011, reports  the government-controlled Asiaone website.

Tan Chuan-Jin

Tan Chuan-Jin

Singapore, a closely controlled island nation-state of 5 million people, had just 45,700 Singaporeans, unemployed in September, Asiaone reports, quoting a Singapore Ministry of Manpower report.

Yet, the same website on the same day reports that “to ensure a level playing field for Singaporean jobseekers, employers will now have to ensure that all jobs being advertised are open to Singaporeans.”

The website goes on to state that “bosses should also groom Singaporean employees to take on higher-level jobs by developing their skills.”

Speaking at the Singapore Tripartism Forum, Mr. Tan Chuan-Jin, minister of state for Manpower and National Development, said: “We need companies to understand their responsibilities to attract, recruit and develop Singaporeans, so that Singaporeans remain at the core of our workforce.”

He emphasised that discriminatory practices, such as foreign managers allegedly preferring to hire their own countrymen, “have no place in Singapore”.

He acknowledged that such issues are “not straightforward”, but the guidelines will help address stereotypes and change the mindset of employers.

Tan Chuan-Jin stepped down as commander of Singapore’s military in March 2011, moving directly into politics as one of two of the country’s civilian leaders. Despite the nationalistic chest-beating, there were some timid word of dissents.

More from Asiaone:

Though Singaporeans should form the core of the workforce, industry representatives said that this does not mean Singaporeans should be given preference over all foreign talents.

Mr Bob Tan, vice-president of SNEF, said that employees’ merits are still a key consideration to help businesses retain their competitive edge.

Mr Alexander Melchers, general manager of trading company Melchers, said: “If people feel that, just because they hold a passport, they have a right to a salary or a job, that would not be good for Singapore. We need to stay competitive.”

Nearly one third of Singapore’s 5.18 million population in 2011 is not a citizen of Singapore or a permanent resident. The proportion of the island’s non-resident population has exploded since 1980, when Singapore began its long and successful economic expansion. With an economy that mixes   central command and control and government ownership in key business with open capitalism, Singapore currently boasts one of the fastest growing economies on the planet.

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