Josephine Teo (Photo: Bloomberg)

Josephine Teo: I’ve got 60,000 job vacancies waiting to be filled

Speaking at the Sats Inflight Catering Centre 2 yesterday (22 Jul), Manpower Minister Josephine Teo told the media that there are currently about 60,000 vacancies waiting to be filled, with some half of them for PMETs (‘About 60,000 job vacancies waiting to be filled, with about half for PMETs: Josephine Teo‘, 22 Jul).

She was at the Sats centre announcing a new initiative to help reskill white-collar air transport workers affected by business transformation.

“If you look at our economy today, even though there are some sectors with weaknesses, the overall vacancies rate is quite healthy,” she said.

Job seekers can still get good quality jobs in sectors such as air transport even though other sectors may have been hit by the current economic slowdown, she added.

“Quite a lot of these (60,000) jobs are good quality jobs. How to equip our people to capture those job opportunities – that must be our focus.”

Minister Teo also said Singapore will continue to focus on growing a diversified economy through supporting companies in various sectors.

“You no longer just pick and choose and say that we only want to grow certain sectors; you actually want a more diversified landscape,” she said.

“It’s very much up to the company, and very much up to the industry, to take advantage of the support that is available to help them ride the next wave.”

Companies want cheap FTs

Companies, of course, would like to have more cheap foreign manpower if they can, in order for them to lower cost and maximise profits.

Take for example, Jardine Engineering Singapore from the Jardine Matheson Group put up a job advertisement on Indeed job site early this month, saying that they would be going to Kuala Lumpur to conduct walk-in interviews for their company.

The company was looking for project engineers, project supervisors and technicians to fill its positions in Singapore. Presumably, the company was targeting at Malaysians wanting to work in Singapore, since it was sending people all the way to KL to do the walk-in interviews.

Even though the Singapore government operates a national Jobs Bank, mandating companies which want to hire foreigners on EP to advertise there for 2 weeks so as to give Singaporean job applicants a chance, many netizens consider the Jobs Banks to be ineffective and a failed initiative.

Hence, with the 60,000 new jobs coming online, it’s not known how many would be filled by Singaporeans.

Number of foreign PMETs continues to increase in Singapore

In any case, over the years, the number of foreign PMETs working in Singapore continues to increase. In particular, the number of foreign PMETs on EP and S Pass hit a total of 381,300 by the end of last year, with no sign of abating.

Comparing figures from 2017 to 2018, the number of S Pass holders actually shot up by 11,100, hitting a new high at 195,500:

So, the question remains how many of the new 60,000 jobs would be “reserved” for foreigners by Ms Teo’s ministry?