MOM speaks up for her children

Fact:

After extensive calls from the NTUC, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has announced new rules, called the Fair Consideration Framework, that require employers to consider Singaporeans fairly before hiring Employment Pass (EP) holders.

Before applying for an Employment Pass (EP), employers are expected to advertise* the job vacancy for at least 14 calendar days on a new jobs bank administered by the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA).**

* Advertising on the new jobs bank is FREE-OF-CHARGE.

** This applies to jobs paying up to SGD12,000/month

 The new rules will come into effect on 1 August 2014

 

So what do I think? Here’s my set of Yehs and Nehs towards these new rules.

 

YEH

 Our cries have been heard!

As Acting Minister for Manpower Tan Chuan-Jin says in a statement,

“Providing better jobs and diverse opportunities to meet Singaporeans’ aspirations are the ultimate objectives of economic growth. Even as we remain open to foreign manpower to complement our local workforce, all firms must make an effort to consider Singaporeans fairly. ‘Hiring-own-kind’ and other discriminatory practices that unfairly exclude Singaporeans run against our fundamental values of fairness and meritocracy.”

 

Here’s how to have fun with it:

1. SIT BACK AND WATCH THE OTHER JOB PORTALS BURN

Said Job Bank looks like it will become the next high traffic website – a super comprehensive database of professional job vacancies! Wonder what people like monster.com, Jobs DB and other job posting portals have to say about that?!

2. TAKE IN THE SCENERY

This will totally increase the visibility of job openings to all Singaporeans. Yay!

3. ENJOY THE LUXURY OF CHOICE ACROSS MORE QUALITY JOBS

Get your CV primed fellow Singaporeans, and get ready to impress – Since it is truly in the interest of organizations to find good candidates anyway, a ruling like that means we get a mathematical fighting chance to be tried and tested in the interview room.

4. SPECULATE WHICH FIRMS WILL BE FIRST TO BE MADE AN EXAMPLE OF:

The implementation and policing of this policy will be interesting to watch, to say the least. MOM has said: “Firms with discriminatory hiring practices will be subject to additional scrutiny and may have their work pass privileges curtailed”. Any guesses? comment below!

5. A chain of events will follow, leading to better jobs, better pay, maybe even better work-life balance

It’s not just about money (though more is of course better), but chances are, competition for manpower will get bosses to create more interesting jobs. Companies with not so interesting jobs and poorer pay? Well, sure they shut or move away – but then again, do we really want those businesses here?

 

NEH

Now we all look like bullied babies who threw their toys out the pram and MOM has to step in.

 

I think these are the potential drawbacks:

1. INTERNATIONAL SHAMING

Whatever happened to our pride in our human capital? In a natural meritocracy, credentials, expertise, experience should get your hired and productivity gets you promoted. Will this (pretty radical) consider-Singaporeans policy deter foreign companies from setting up shop here, or worse, laugh at us?

 2. WHAT ABOUT $12K AND ABOVE?

Does it mean that we’ll let them get away with discriminatory hiring practices? Absolutely not. Although they do not have to comply with the procedure of advertising on a jobs bank (who advertises for a CEO on a jobs portal anyway?!) They are still subject to MOM “coffee sessions” if they do not demonstrate fair hiring.

 3. THE PORTAL CAPABILITY

We have seen many a great plan crumble to pieces in execution. Will this portal have google-like intelligence, dexterity, user-navigation ease and beautiful corporate colours? We cannot wait to see.

 4. A NEW DANCE

Firms will go along with the charade and still hire EP holders anyway. It’s not hard to game the system. MOM gonna be very busy policing this.

 5. WE ASKED TO GO TO THE BEACH, BUT ARE WE READY TO GET WET?

No more excuses fellow Singaporeans. Cannot use the “us against them” argument no more! You cannot say I missed-the-boat on this job opportunity because I was discriminated against. And on top of that, find yourself competing against each other! Get your CV claws out, we say!

 

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About the author

Xin Hui

Xin Hui is a professional copywriter, radio specialist as well as a socio-political and cultural commentator for several digital and print channels including MediaCorp Radio, MediaCorp Publishing, and Singapore Press Holdings. Xin Hui was born and raised (and now based) in Singapore where she grew up on a steady diet of soya bean milk and fried carrot cake – just two of the many things that keep her here.After getting a B.A. in political science, she began her career in radio copywriting and was a nominee at the New York Festivals for a radio commercial she wrote and produced for The SPCA.Her writing style is passionate, progressive, and explorative, often with a humorous and creative flair for going against the grain.

On FSAAM, she contributes wide-ranging content and editorials, some light-hearted, some tongue-in-cheek and some so combative that it stirs the defenses of social ideals and calls for an examination of the underlying dynamics of the written and unwritten laws that govern society.

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