It was reported last week (5 Aug) that the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) had placed another 47 companies with suspected discriminatory hiring practices on its Fair Consideration Framework (FCF) watchlist (‘MOM places firms with “high concentration of PMETs from single nationalities” in FCF watchlist‘).

Of the 47 companies, 30 (64 per cent) are in the financial and professional services sectors. They include banks, fund management firms, management consulting companies, as well as firms that provide project management and engineering services.

MOM said that all 30 of the financial and professional services employers have a “high concentration of PMETs from single nationalities”.

In one financial institution in the fund management industry, almost three-quarters of their PMETs are of the same nationality and in another bank, almost two-thirds of the PMETs are also of the same nationality, MOM revealed.

Banks interviewed by the media, on the other hand, maintained that a large majority of their employees are locals, which include both Singaporeans and Permanent Residents (PRs).

Banks say large majority of employees are “locals”

In a news report today (13 Aug), Banks said that they keep a “strong local core” in the workforce, while “growing the pipeline of local talent”. Their responses came as the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) urged financial institutions to grow the talent pool in Singapore.

Standard Chartered said the number of employees has grown from 8,000 to 10,000 in recent years, with “70 per cent of its Singapore management team” being Singaporeans. It did not disclose the number of people in its management team.

DBS Bank said that over 90 per cent of its 12,000 employees here are Singaporeans and PRs. It added that it would ensure “a strong complement between our local and foreign talent”.

UBS said around 75 per cent of its workforce of 3,000 are Singaporeans or PRs.

HSBC said more than 85 per cent of its employees are Singaporeans or PRs while almost 75 per cent of its senior staff positions are held by Singaporeans or PRs. “Our support extends to building a strong Singapore core and we have policies and measures to invest, develop, and promote Singaporean talent,” said HSBC.

OCBC said locals, that is, Singaporeans and PRs, account for 90 per cent of OCBC Group’s headcount here.

However, DBS, UBS, HSBC and OCBC all did not reveal any further breakdown in numbers of Singaporeans and PRs employed inside their banks.

PRs are, of course, not Singaporeans. They are holders of foreign passports.

MTI: We need to continue to welcome immigrants and grant PRs

According to a FAQ for the Population White Paper published online by the Trade and Industry Ministry (MTI), it said that the government has “tightened up significantly” on the number of PRs granted each year, coming down from a high of 79,000 new PRs in 2008 to about 30,000 each year currently.

“We need to continue to welcome immigrants who intend to sink roots and have a long term stake in Singapore so as to stop our citizen population and workforce from shrinking,” MTI said.

“At the same time, the government has also since tightened foreign workforce policies to moderate the demand for foreign workers. While we do not want to be overwhelmed by more foreign workers than we can absorb, a complementary workforce of Singaporeans and foreigners are needed to keep Singapore dynamic.”

MTI added that the government will “welcome immigrants who can contribute to our country share our values and integrate into our society”. MTI is currently run by Minister Chan Chun Sing.

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