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Straits Times report: More young people feel Singapore benefits from presence of foreign talent

Quoting a survey from the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS), Straits Times (ST) said that "more young people in Singapore feel that the country has benefited from the presence of foreign talent".

The IPS survey was said to have found 62.5 per cent of 19 to 30-year-olds believe skilled workers who come here from other countries "have contributed to Singapore's development", compared to 45.4 per cent in 2010.

Also quoting the managing partner of executive headhunting firm Leadership Advisory Inc, Daniel Soh, ST said that workers from overseas bring expertise or international experience that is not readily available locally.

"Singapore's strong reputation for providing a quality lifestyle and safe living environment is a major draw for foreign talent to accept a working assignment here, without the need for lavish expat packages," Soh explained.

But strangely, the IPS survey has also observed a rise in the proportion of respondents who viewed the presence of foreign talent as having a negative impact on societal cohesiveness here, from 38.9 per cent to 48 per cent.

They also expressed increased scepticism about the long-term commitment of immigrants. ST did not produce the figures on long term commitment of foreign talents but CNA reported that 55.9 per cent thought foreign talents used Singapore as a stepping stone to other countries, up 10.4 percentage points from 2010.

Hence, the question remains why the respondents would feel Singapore has benefited from foreign talents but think they are negatively impacting on the societal cohesiveness of Singapore at the same time.

In terms of satisfaction with their life in Singapore, 58 per cent said that they were satisfied with their life compared to 43.1 per cent in 2010.

While most felt that Singapore would continue to be economically prosperous over the next 10 years, the survey also noted that only 29.8 per cent of those surveyed felt that there would be sufficient jobs and opportunities for every citizen in the same time period.

The survey was conducted from June to November 2016, involving 2,013 participants aged 19 to 30.