National Jobs Bank: More tightening, but no statistics?

Why “no statistics” on the National Jobs Bank?

I refer to the article “Parliament: Tighter rules to support Singaporeans and raise quality of foreign workforce” (Straits Times, Mar 5).

It states that more companies will have to give Singaporeans a chance to apply for higher-skilled jobs by advertising the job vacancies on the national Jobs Bank for at least 14 days before they can hire a foreigner for the role.

“Under the Fair Consideration Framework, this rule applied to companies with more than 25 workers and for jobs paying a fixed monthly salary of less than $12,000 a month. From July 1, it will be extended to cover companies with at least 10 workers and for jobs paying less than $15,000 a month, said Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say on Monday (March 5).”

No statistics on success rate

Then-NCMP Mr Gerald Giam Yean Song asked the Ministry of Manpower in 2013 if it tracks the proportion of the posts in Jobs Bank which are eventually secured by Singaporeans. And if there is no such tracking system, does the ministry have plans to measure and publish such data by requiring employers to disclose the outcome of their job postings.

In the reply by then-Minister of Manpower, Tan Chuan Jin, it was noted that the Jobs Bank was intended to facilitate a fair hiring process and greater awareness of job vacancies available for Singaporean job seekers and that Singaporean job seekers are able to make job applications directly through the Jobs Bank for a comprehensive list of job openings.

He also noted that the Jobs Bank and the Fair Consideration Framework (FCF) was not set up to guarantee local job seekers that they will always get the job. This will continue to be determined on the basis of merit, and to the best applicant for the job. There can be various reasons why an employer may not end up hiring the Singaporean candidate after considering applications fairly.

Mr Tan did not answer Mr Giam’s question in anyway, which probably implies that either MOM does not have the statistics or the statistics are that damning.

Foreigners can also apply at Jobs Bank

A Singaporean employer wrote to TOC after he tried to recruit Singaporeans for his company at the JobsBank. He said he was shocked when resumes started to come in one by one from foreigners who are Permanent Residents currently working in Singapore.

He said that he was disappointed with how JobsBank fails to perform its set goal to strengthen the Singaporean core in the workforce by allowing foreigners to send in the job applications and ask why was there no filters put in place to ensure only Singaporeans can submit their job applications.

When TOC wrote to MOM to seek their clarification, no answer was given in response to the questions.

How many jobs created went to Singaporeans?

Why can’t the statistics as to the actual percentage of jobs listed in the National Jobs Bank, which went to Singaporeans be disclosed?

As to “Mr Lim said the Government tightened the criteria for Employment Passes (EPs) in 2014 and 2017, resulting in slower growth in the number of EP holders each year, to an average of 3,000 a year in the past three years, down from a peak of 32,000 in 2011.

This is to calibrate the growth of EP holders, and enhance their overall quality, he said, adding that about 50,000 new EPs were given each year over the past three years. A similar number of passes were not renewed.”

Minister Lim revealed that from 2015 to 2017, compared with the previous three years, net job growth slowed from over 100,000 a year to less than 10,000 a year on average. Retrenchments and the unemployment rate for residents both went up” – But why is there is no breakdown of the local jobs growth into Singaporeans and Permanent Residents?

With an average of about 30,000 new PRs and 20,000 new citizens granted per year – how many of the 33,200 local residents’ employment growth in the last three years went to Singaporeans?

If we account for the foreign workers who were reclassified as resident workers when they became PRs or citizens – how many of the jobs of the job created over the years actually went to Singaporeans?