The problem with foreign talent

July 15, 2005
Singapore Democrats

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The current problem with FT in S’pore is the indiscriminate employment of FT for not so senior levels. This irks many locals who do possess the required skills to fill most jobs.

Previously there is no such problem as all expats come in full expat package and only the most senior positions warrant their employment, generally at director level. Far fewer managerial levels were granted to expats.

Now, mid-level managers to junior managers on partial expats or local terms are flooding in. That would certainly deprived the locals of jobs as these are the levels of skills that are plentiful here.

Human resource manager, an expat? Never heard of previously. (I was informed recently of such a happening.) To make matter worse, these human resource managers then source from their own home countries to fill other vacancies available here. Real nightmare for the locals.

We are not even talking about the US MNCs sourcing from the US but other nationalities working in MNC sourcing from their own home country. Where does that leave the locals? And it is not about saving costs as the expats on local terms do not cost less than locals.

Isn’t the UN recently investigated a UN staff member for employing one ( 1 ) of his own kind, and it’s called showing favouritism in recruitment?

Why are the locals not going somewhere else to eke out a living, some expats have the nerve to ask that question. Where? To Australia? Do they open their doors so generously? They protect their own kind first, and ensure their own get the job before foreigners. To Canada? Same problem. Barrier erected to hinder you. Anywhere else, same problem. No one has opened their doors so widely. Each has the prerogative to do what they want to foreigners that come onto their land. Fair enough.

Now here, in their homeland, this is exactly what the locals demand to be looked after first. Many are graduated here or from overseas universities too if the local MNC employers are worried about their qualification aspects.

Isn’t part of the benefit of having MNCs here is for the employment of locals? (From the local standpoint and rightly expected by locals from their government.) Previously, doors were opened to talent mainly from Malaysia as we have deep linked and shared history with Malaysia. Many Malaysian have sunk their roots here, including becoming PR, citizens, and cabinet ministers.

Others marry locals or live among the locals harmoniously with close social interaction here. But the expats from the west or pseudo west are another story, lording over the locals both at work and socially. By openly practising cronyism from their not so talented foreign pool, the locals are incensed as expected.

FOO SIANG KHOON