ST journalist: 62.5% of younger S’poreans say FTs contribute to SG’s development

Straits Times Journalist Adrian Lim wrote an opinion piece today saying that “foreign talents” working in Singapore do help fuel a “bustling economy” in Singapore (‘Foreign talent helps fuel a bustling economy‘, 27 May).

Quoting figures from state-owned Institute of Policy Studies, Mr Lim said that 62.5 per cent of Singaporeans aged 19-to-30 in 2016 had believed that “foreign talents” contributed to Singapore’s development, compared with 45.4 per cent in 2010.

“Attitudes towards immigrants have shifted (positively) over time,” he said.

“In Singapore, short-term immigrants are an important contributor to the economy, while those who seek permanent residency and eventually citizenship help to mitigate the effects of a low total fertility rate and ageing population,” he added.

“At the end of last year, Singapore’s total foreign workforce was 1.39 million, with Work Permit holders making up about 70 per cent of this. Many take up jobs which Singaporeans are not keen on.”

He also noted that while Singapore continues to attract “foreign talents” in growth sectors such as fintech, data science and artificial intelligence, the government also trains Singaporeans to take on these jobs.

“Because of an ageing population and low birth rate, Singapore also requires immigration to keep the citizen numbers from shrinking over the long term.”

Mr Lim then reminded everyone that PM Lee said in Parliament last May that immigrants are “part and parcel of Singapore’s history and identity”.

“The new arrivals have chosen to make Singapore their home and they will contribute to our country, our society. They have to make every effort to mix and to interact with everyone else. For our part, we should welcome them, we should support them in their journey to become Singaporean…,” Mr Lim quoted what PM Lee said last May.

Meanwhile, it was reported recently that Mr Marcus Lim, an IT department head, abruptly lost his job midway through his career.

In his 40s, he had difficulty securing another job that would offer a similar salary and position. After four months of unemployment, he joined Grab as a driver and was able to support his family temporarily with this freelance position.

It’s not known how the government is going to train IT PMETs like Marcus Lim to take up jobs in “growth sectors” like fintech, data science and artificial intelligence.

In any case ST Journalist Adrian Lim should be quite comforted to know that he still has a job with SPH and doesn’t need to end-up driving Grab like Marcus did.