Around three in four professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMET) jobs in growth sectors such as healthcare, finance and insurance services, information and communications are taken up by locals, Manpower Minister Josephine Teo told Parliament on Tue (18 Feb).
The number of locals in PMET jobs, she said, rose from around 960,000 in 2009 to 1.3 million in 2019, and the PMET share of employed locals increased steadily from 51.4 per cent to 58.3 per cent over the same period.
“If we look at Singapore citizens only, the trend is very similar,” said Ms Teo.
Ms Teo was responding Aljunied GRC Member of Parliament Pritam Singh’s question regarding the number of PMET jobs held by foreigners and permanent residents (PRs) due to a purported shortage of qualified Singaporeans to fill such roles.
Mr Singh, who is also the Workers’ Party chief, also asked the Manpower Minister to list the industries struggling to pull in or hire Singaporean for PMET roles, the effectiveness of the Government’s measures to assist Singaporeans in securing PMET jobs, as well as the Government’s means to ensure that Singaporeans absorb the necessary skills from PRs and foreigners holding such roles.
Ms Teo said that the Government, in collaboration with industry agencies, has assisted Singaporeans in securing PMET jobs via reskilling initiatives such as Adapt and Grow, which has enabled over 48,000 locals to fill PMET roles over the past three years.
Workforce Singapore and industry agencies have also managed to place over 10,000 mid-career locals in PMET jobs in growth sectors between Jul 2017 and last year, she added.
Ms Teo also noted that nine in 10 participants of professional conversion programmes have stayed employed for at least two years after their placement, and that seven in 10 of them earned higher wages than they did prior to the programme.
Referring to the latest Graduate Employment Survey for the 2019 batch, she said that around nine in 10 job-seeking university and polytechnic graduates were employed within six months after graduating or completing their full-time national service.
The above figure exhibited a stable trend over the past decade, which according to Ms Teo is a positive indication of whether Singaporeans are acquiring skills for PMET jobs.
Workers aged 40 and above with local diploma or degree qualifications “have also made good progress”, said Ms Teo, as they are taking up more PMET positions than expected.
While only one in four were expected to fill PMET roles based on their qualifications, one in two are actually presently occupying such roles, she said.
“To help Singaporeans, we must make every effort to keep up these efforts instead of focusing narrowly on displacing PRs and foreigners in our workforce.
“That is a zero-sum game which will cause companies to rethink locating their high-value activities in Singapore. The end result will not serve Singaporeans’ best interests,” said Ms Teo.