The Bane That Is Outsourcing…


For a while now outsourcing of services such as cleaning and security has been a bug bear for both service providers and buyers in Singapore.

Outsourcing has led to rampant cheapsourcing. The biggest problem resulting from this is the depressing of wages of its workers who are already paid low-wages.

Earlier in the year, Labour Member of Parliament and NTUC Assistant Secretary General Zainal Sapari said in a blogpost that “Outsourcing has led to market failure, contributing to the depression and stagnation of wages of many low-wage workers such as cleaners, security officers…”.

Which is why the Progressive Wage Model (PWM) for some low-wage sectors including the security industry was introduced to improve the livelihood of the workers.


Recently, Mr Zainal Sapari met a few bloggers at a roundtable discussion, together with a security officer and a general manager of a security firm to talk about the PWM for the security sector.

Two messages stood out as the discussions went on:

  1. Career Progression of Security Officers
  2. Harnessing Technology

The main intention of the PWM for the security sector is for security officers to have clearer pathways for training and career progression.

The PWM will be adopted as a licensing requirement for the security sector. Meaning if security agencies do not pay their officers according to the PWM by 1 September 2016, their security license will not be renewed the following year.

At the same time, the Workforce Development Agency (WDA) has developed bite-sized training modules and weekend classesto help officers fulfil the necessary training requirements in order to retain or upgrade their current positions after the PWM comes into force.

According to  a blogpost by Labour Member of Parliament and NTUC Assistant Secretary General Zainal Sapari, the training capacity had not been fully utilised and many places are still available.

Without the necessary skills qualifications to perform their roles with greater responsibilities, security officers risk being emplaced on a lower rank from 1 September 2016 onwards.

The second point which was brought up was about harnessing technology for productivity.

Mr Kelvin Goh, General Manager of Soverus Pte Ltd shared during the discussions that he hopes to see more security service buyers opening up to the idea of having technology and machines to deliver more productive services.


According to him, most service buyers are focused on employing ‘warm bodies’ on site to patrol their premises, when in actual fact, CCTVs and other equipment provide the option of deploying centralised supervision of properties offsite. The officers can then be trained to take on other roles.

The PWM for security will kick in on 1 September 2016 and is targeted to benefit 33,000  active security officers.

As Mr Zainal puts it in his blogpost:

“Everyone involved in the industry must do the necessary to make the coming D-Day a non-event. This would mean all security officers are paid according to PWM and with the necessary skill sets to perform the job functions required at the site.”




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