Local HR professional asks: Indonesia’s hiring policies prohibit foreigners to take on HR roles, but why can’t Singapore?

Local HR professional asks: Indonesia’s hiring policies prohibit foreigners to take on HR roles, but why can’t Singapore?

The issue of discriminatory hiring practices in Singapore has been the subject of debate lately, after it was reported that the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) had placed another 47 companies on its Fair Consideration Framework (FCF) watchlist for suspected discriminatory hiring practices.

Many netizens pointed out that the issue of discriminatory hiring practices have been ongoing for awhile and asked why the Ministry only realised about it now.

A former human resource (HR) leader, Joanna Yeoh, shared on 7 August that the “struggle is real” especially for those who have worked in the consultancy or banking sectors in Singapore. She then called on employers to give local candidates a “fair chance” when hiring for a job role.

As it turns out, Ms Yeoh is not the only HR leader who has voiced out on this particular issue.

A local HR professional, Martin Gabriel, also took to his Facebook on Thursday (13 Aug) citing an article from The Straits Times titled “Forum: Key human resource positions should be held by Singaporeans” and asked why Singapore’s government could not implement hiring policies like the ones in Indonesia.

“If Indonesia can mandate that HR Managers and Finance Directors be locals, why can’t we craft policies along the same line of thinking?” he wrote.

His post was then re-shared by the Peoples Voice (PV) chief Lim Tean earlier today (14 Aug) on Facebook, who claimed that he can “attest” to Mr Gabriel’s points on Indonesia’s hiring policies.

“Having worked and lived in Indonesia for many years, I can attest to what Martin says below. Martin is a real expert on Human Resource and someone I would turn to instinctively for advice,” said Mr Lim.

He stressed that the Government should be developing local talent instead, as he believes that Singaporeans are “well-qualified” to take on prominent positions.

“Maybe then we will have many more Directors in important positions in financial institutions and banks. At the moment, it is disconcerting to see so many of these positions being occupied by foreigners.

“Where is the Singapore Core which the PAP keeps talking about? I can’t see it in the 2 diagrams which have circulated widely on SM in recent days! And one of them involves a very prominent government entity!” Mr Lim added.

Indonesian Govt prohibits foreigners to work in the human resource departments

The Indonesian government enforces “strict guidelines” when it comes to hiring foreign workers.

Indonesia Expat reported that the country’s past policies have created “a barrier” as it stated that only foreigners who are deemed as “experts” in their field can be hired. This means that they need to have at least five years of working experience in order to be hired, and more than eight years of experience to take on the director or commissioner positions.

According to Emerhub‘s website, every foreign worker in Indonesia has to have at least one local co-worker that holds a title relevant to the foreigner’s position, unless they are holding director or commissioner positions.

Moreover, it stated that Indonesia’s government prohibits foreign nationals from taking positions related to human resources, legal, and medical industries.

Although Indonesia’s Ministry of Labour has issued a new regulation to attract highly-skilled foreign workers into its country last year, it still prohibits foreigners from taking human resource roles in Indonesian companies.

ASEAN Briefing reported that the country’s “Regulation 228, 2019 reiterates that expatriates are still able to hold positions as directors and commissioners (for non-HR roles) in Indonesian companies”.

“The country’s strict labor laws, which make termination of employees extremely difficult, is another challenge for employers, particularly foreign-invested employers who do not maintain a full human resource capacity within the country,” it added.

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