National Jobs Index proposed

HRM 05 Feb 2013

The Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (ASME) has suggested that Singapore set up the National Jobs Index, in response to the Government’s White Paper on Population.

According to ASME’s proposal, jobs shunned by Singaporeans but are necessary for Singapore’s growth will have a higher rating, such as those in the construction industry. They will be assigned a lower levy and given a higher quota.

In a report by Channel NewsAsia, ASME said that although the average Singaporean has been urging the government to reduce the influx of foreign workers, these is a difference between lower-skilled foreign labour and highly-skilled foreign talent.

ASME suggested that the discontent of Singaporeans is more directed at higher-skilled workers and that if it is the case, the foreign labour quota for lower skilled workers should be re-examined.

The association said that the government’s sudden decision to slow down both foreign labour and foreign talent has not only made it difficult for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Singapore to hire foreign workers, but has also made it equally challenging to renew the passes of their existing well-trained foreign workers.

ASME claimed that this will lead to SMEs being forced to downsize or shut down, reducing the number of jobs available to professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs), perpetuating a vicious cycle.

The association also added that the government should be prepared to relax its manpower policies, if productivity gains do not materialise.

In the past 10 years, Singapore's productivity gain has only been 1.8%, compared to the projected productivity gain of three per cent in this decade and up two percent in the next. ASME said that such projections may be overly optimistic.

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