Former MOM Minister, Tan Chuan-jin launched Jobs Bank in 2014

Even NTUC questions the effectiveness of Jobs Bank

Former MOM Minister, Tan Chuan-jin launched Jobs Bank in 2014
Former MOM Minister, Tan Chuan-jin launched Jobs Bank in 2014

The Jobs Bank launched in August last year to help more Singaporean PMEs to get jobs is currently even questioned by NTUC.

Under the Govt’s Fair Consideration Framework, it is stipulated that employers must put up job advertisements on the Jobs Bank portal for 14 days, to look for a suitable Singaporean candidate, before they are allowed to hire a foreigner on Employment Pass (EP)

WDA which administers the Jobs Bank, said that as of end of last month, some 19,000 employers and 104,000 individuals have registered as Jobs Bank users. In the same month, some 70,000 job vacancies were posted each week.

However, it doesn’t tell how many Singaporeans are actually employed as employers can simply continue to hire a foreigner even after placing job advertisements on the Jobs Bank, supposedly to hire Singaporeans.

There is also no quota for the number of foreigners hired on EP (i.e, minimum salary $3,300) in a company. Technically speaking, a company in Singapore can have 100% foreigners and zero Singaporeans working in the company, as long as the foreigners are on EP.

“Now the question is whether just by having that advertising requirement is sufficient to nudge employers to take the bold step to hire more Singaporean PMEs because it’s just a mere advertising requirement; there’s no requirement for employers to share placement figures,” said NTUC Assistant Secretary-General Patrick Tay.

“We do not have data on rates of placement for some of these jobs advertised in the jobs bank. That’s one area I think can be improved on. Sharing data, how many of these jobs are posted, how many of these jobs actually got to local PMEs.”

“The other aspect would be, some of these jobs that are posted, what are the skills, competencies required? Some of these data can be mined so that we can better map some of these SkillsFuture initiatives to plug those gaps. And of course how the tripartite partners can work together to better place Singaporean PMEs in those jobs available in the Jobs Bank,” he added.

Last year, half of the complaints to the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practice (TAFEP) are said to be related to job discrimination against Singaporeans.

Jobs Bank is a big ‘wayang’

In a satirical post, popular blogger Leong Sze Hian has this to say about the Govt’s Jobs Bank:

We spoke to Mr Human Re (not his real name) about the jobs bank.

Q. Your company employs about 80% non-Singaporeans?

A. Yes

Q. What type of foreign workers?

A. Mostly S-pass, employment pass

Q Why

A. Aiyah, foreigners cheaper mah (no pay CPF save 17% you know), no NS, no 4 months maternity, no turnover problem as 2 year contract they cannot run mah.

Q. What do you do now that there is the Fair Consideration Framework?

A. No difference lah. Can still advertise in other places and jobs portals like before at the same time mah. So, just wayang and advertise also in jobs bank lo for 2 weeks.

Q. Can please elaborate?

A. It take about 1.5 months at least normally to do the jobs advertisement, interviews, etc process – so we just concurrently advertise and recruit foreigner just like before lah.

Q Keep talking leh. This is very good!

A. You can see – a lot of job postings from third party entities such as employment agencies, private job portals and companies which offer outsourced human resource services – so, they are just going through the motion – because they will still be doing what they were doing before – no difference lah!

In any case, due to constant pressure from social media, displeased Singaporean PMEs as well as the forthcoming General Election, MOM told the media that it is reviewing both the Fair Consideration Framework and the Jobs Bank and will share details when the review is completed.

Do you think the Govt is serious this time in helping Singaporean PMEs displaced by the “foreign talents”?

Tell us what you think.

The above article was first published on TR Emeritus.