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Morning Coffee: Why foreigners aren’t stealing Singaporean banking jobs

Foreigners not shutting out locals in Singapore

This isn't happening to locals in Singapore

The number of foreign professionals entering the workforce in Singapore may still be increasing, but that isn’t shutting Singaporeans out of good jobs, says Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin. Writing in his blog, the outgoing minster refutes the common public assumption that rises in the number of foreign professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) in the city state are leading to more unemployed and lower-paid Singaporean PMETs.

The number of work visas granted in Singapore has been increasing over the past few years, although the speed of growth has slowed from 20% in 2011 to 4% in 2014. But the unemployment rate for professional Singaporeans has actually remained low over the same period – it was 2.9% in 2014. Singapore’s job market is not a “zero sum game”, writes Tan.

Although these figures aren’t specific to the financial sector, anecdotally we hear that banks are stepping up their efforts to hire local professionals. And sometimes they are exceeding the requirements of the Fair Consideration Framework (FCF), a law introduced last year which encourages companies to consider Singaporeans before applying for foreign work visas.

While the FCF only requires employers to advertise roles paying less than S$144k to local candidates on the new government-run Jobs Board, many banks are also voluntarily listing senior jobs paying over the threshold, a senior HR professional at a major foreign bank told us last week. “We’ve picked up some excellent senior local talent doing this recently,” he adds.


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