Former HR leader calls on employers to give local candidates a “fair chance” when hiring for job roles

Former HR leader calls on employers to give local candidates a “fair chance” when hiring for job roles

Earlier on 5 August, the Manpower Ministry (MOM) announced that 47 more employers were recently added to the Fair Consideration Framework (FCF) watchlist for suspected discriminatory hiring practices against Singaporeans.

Of those, 30 are in the financial and professional services sectors while the remaining 17 are in administrative and support services, manufacturing and education.

Following that, ConnectOne’s – a talent solutions consultancy for startups – director Joanna Yeoh took to her LinkedIn page on 7 August imploring employers in Singapore to give local candidates a “fair chance” when hiring for a job role.

Ms Yeoh described the “struggle is real” especially for those who have worked in the consultancy or banking sectors in the city-state.

“It’s a sad day when citizens face discrimination for jobs in their own country. When you have to hire a Singaporean to promote diversity.

“While we welcome diversity and foreign investments into Singapore, the scale has been tipped against locals for a while now,” she wrote.

Ms Yeoh recalled her experience as a senior human resource (HR) leader in the “last decade”, where she met bosses who would “strongly recommend” to look at foreigners’ curriculum vitae (CVs) though she had already interviewed local candidates who are qualified for the job.

“I’ve been called out for insubordination when I insisted on building a Singapore core of PMETs within the company,” she added.

The former HR leader noted that expatriate directors would openly say “No Asian will lead in this place, it’ll be a disaster!” in the succession planning panels, which led her to resign from the job immediately.

“And walked into meetings where business conversations are carried out in Hindi and I’m the only Singaporean in the room,” she stated.

But this doesn’t mean that Ms Yeoh would stop hiring qualified foreigners for jobs in the city-state.

“All I ask is that employers give Singaporeans a fair chance by actively seeking, interviewing and fairly evaluating local candidates too. I hope this call is the start of redressing that imbalance,” she asserted.

“Singapore citizens must have the ‘first chance’, instead of a ‘fair chance’,” says netizen

Ms Yeoh’s sharing had earned praises from many netizens, inspiring others to pen their opinion on the matter in the comment section of her post.

One netizen commented that instead of giving local candidates a “fair chance” in employment, they should be given the “first chance”.

Another netizen opined that the authorities should focus on hiring Singaporean PMETs to compete in a globalised economy, adding that local PMETs who are 40-year-old and above should be protected as they are more vulnerable in losing a job.

One netizen said that “a collective voice is needed” to address the issue and stressed that Singaporeans should be part of the hiring process.

While a few netizens pointed out that discriminatory hiring practices are “common” in Singapore as they too have witnessed such situations.

PV’s chief Lim Tean calls FCF a “sorry scheme”, outlines five alternatives to address the issues of discriminatory hiring

In fact, Ms Yeoh’s post also garnered attention from the chief of People’s Voice (PV) Lim Tean who uploaded a screenshot of her post on Facebook yesterday (10 August), calling the FCF a “sorry scheme” created by the People’s Action Party (PAP).

“Don’t mock the Singaporean worker by suggesting that he is being given a fair shot by the bombastically named ‘Fair Consideration Framework’. This sorry scheme, which the PAP created is anything but fair!,” Mr Lim wrote.

He claimed that the FCF and Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) have caused many Singaporean PMETs to lose jobs when they could have jobs with good pay.

“Peoples Voice will always call a spade a spade. We won’t mince our words and waste time ( like some other parties do ) trying to exhort employers to play by the rules of the ‘FCF’, when this silly scheme is riddled with more holes than you can find in cheese, which unscrupulous employers exploit,” said the PV’s chief.

Mr Lim went on to outline five alternatives that the PV has demanded:

  1. A freeze on the issuance of all new S-Passes;
  2. Drastic reduction in the number of Employment passes;
  3. The abolition of CECA;
  4. Jobs Bank must make known the number of Singaporeans finding jobs through it;
  5. All HR managers must be Singaporeans

“Only by following the above can Singaporeans enjoy priority for well-paying jobs!” he remarked.


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