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Foreign PMETs not displacing local PMETs: Tan Chuan-Jin

Friday, April 10, 2015 - 18:18
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Foreign professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) are not displacing local PMETs in Singapore's job market, clarified Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin in a blogpost.

FOREIGN professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) are not displacing local PMETs in Singapore's job market, clarified Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin in a blogpost.

This was in response to mainstream media reports a few days ago which highlighted the growth of Singapore's foreign workforce over the last four years and raised concerns over foreign competition for PMET jobs vis-a-vis locals.

In his blogpost, Mr Tan pointed out that the unemployment rate of Singaporean PMETs remained low at 2.9 per cent last year, while the real median income of Singaporean PMETs grew by about 2 per cent per year between 2009 and 2014. Meanwhile, that of median Singaporean workers grew by 2.1 per cent per year over the same period.

"The PMET job market is not a zero-sum game. With the economy continuing to grow, there will be more jobs for Singaporeans if firms are able to get the talent they need to invest or expand their operations here," he wrote. "The assumptions that more foreign PMETs (equals) more Singaporean PMETs unemployed and in lower-paying jobs are not borne out in numbers."

At the same time, the tightening of Singapore's foreign workforce policy since 2011 has also slowed the pace of growth in foreign PMETs.

"The growth rate of Employment Pass and S Pass holders has slowed from 20 per cent in 2011 to 4 per cent in 2014 year-on-year," he noted.

Mr Tan also stressed the need to help Singaporeans update their skills in order to find new jobs.

The government has boosted funding support for mid-career Singaporeans, with education and training subsidies for Singaporeans aged 40 and above now covering 90 per cent of costs for courses funded by the Ministry of Education and Workforce Development Agency.

The government has also increased the monthly salary support given to employers who hire PMETs in Professional Conversion Programmes, from 70 per cent of basic monthly salary previously to 90 per cent currently.

"We hope the above will benefit Singaporean PMETs substantially and put them on a good course towards realising their dreams and aspirations," Mr Tan added.

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