Saturday, October 22, 2011

Singapore - To Change Or Remain - Singaporeans are not choosy about jobs

Singaporeans are not choosy about jobs

Singapore - To Change Or Remain

The bottom 20 per cent of working Singaporeans saw their pay stagnate over the last 10 years, according to a report released on Tuesday by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM); little wonder are there so much disquietness and stress.

I hazard to guess that not only had the wages stagnated but for the same wages, working hours have lengthened, by extension, the standard and quality of living had 'collapsed' too.

This is compounded by the influx of cheaper foreign labours and a lack of protection for local workers. Is minimum wage a possible antidote? There is no singular best-fit answer to this issue.

It is also crucial to consider the plights of middle age wage earners too. When you are 35-45 years old and you loss your job, chances of you finding the same job with the same pay and status is almost impossible. 

What about the loud cries of 'working into the twilight years'? If you cannot find a job to match your qualifications during mid-life, what make you think there are jobs available when you pass 50 years old? 

The displacement of employees at middle age is a serious problem as it will destroy their self-esteem and drive and is detrimental to nation building. How can a nation remain strong if their aging population limp into their twilight years as a 'spent force'. 

Many can accept that there are some jobs that Singaporeans shy away or do not have the skillsets and inclination to accept but if you look around, there are many foreigners doing jobs that relevantly qualified Singaporeans are denied. Is it a mismatch of skills or are employers taking an easy way out by employing 'cheaper, better and faster' foreigners?  

I welcome foreign workers (call them foreign talents if you like) to fill jobs that Singaporeans cannot match. However, I also believe it is the depressive wages and long hours that are deterrent to locals more than the nature and type of work. 

Why can a foreigner accepts a job that pays lesser relative to locals and with longer hours? Its simple.  For a start, there are no jobs in their home country for them. Besides, with an advantageous exchange rate, their  wages are very much higher than in their home country; dollar for dollar conversion. Whereas Singaporeans need time to socialize with family, contacts and friends, the foreigners single-mindedness and focus are  'work, make money - more work, more money, then go home'!

It is too simplistic to dismiss Singaporeans as lazy and choosy.  

It is timely for our Lawmakers and Parliamentarians to look into the well being of, and to spare some thoughts for, Singaporeans. The well being of Singaporeans must take priority. If the rich-poor gap widened further and more people are underemployed or sub-economically employed, there will be more stress, discomfort and resentment.

Our President Tony Tan and our Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong have spoken out for our fellowmen; it is time for us all to set aside the past and work towards an all-inclusive growth, benefits and care for all Singaporeans.  

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