With the increased public scrutiny on the number of foreign professionals, managers, engineers and technicians (PMETs) in Singapore, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has put more companies on the Fair Consideration Framework (FCF) watch list in a bid to ensure that hiring processes are fair.
In response to calls for the names on the FCF watch list to be made public, Minister for Manpower, Josephine Teo has said that the naming of such companies would be “counterproductive” and could actually frustrate the particular company’s attempts to hire local individuals.
Given that the watch list is meant to be a counter measure against unfair hiring practices, its relatively anonymity seems incongruous with its desired objective. Surely the companies on that watch list would be more mindful of who they hire if they knew that the public were watching? Wouldn’t publicity ensure more compliance to avoid public backlash and bad press?
In this regard, Teo’s reasoning appears flawed.
Secondly, why would publicising the names of the list frustrate the companies’ attempts to hire locals? If a particular company is known to be on the watch list, one would assume that they would be on the look out for local talent so as to get off the watch list. This would then send locals the message that they should apply for jobs within these companies as there are now spaces for them to fill. Again, the Minister’s logic appears fallacious.
At the end of the day, what is the point of having a watch list if no one knows who is on it? How can the public ensure accountability and transparency then?
Teo goes on to state that “If our objective is still to try and get them to improve their HR practices, what is a more effective way of doing so – naming them or continuing to suspend their work pass privileges?”
But why does it have to be either or? Surely both measures can work hand in hand and are not mutually exclusive?
Would it not be even more effective if both measures are used? It is arguably fair to say that the government would be signalling its intent to ensure fair hiring practices if both measures are utilised as opposed to one or the other?
By seemingly being opaque, the Minister is unwittingly sending the message that the Government is not being transparent in its approach.
Why is the Minister putting out such binary and black or white solutions?