The Manpower Ministry (MOM) issued a press release on Tuesday (10 Nov) saying that the Government has rolled out three new features on the national Jobs Bank MyCareersFuture to strengthen progressive hiring practices amongst employers.
It said that about 200,000 individuals and 27,000 employers have been actively using the Jobs Bank for their job search and hiring needs in the past year.
It added that the Jobs Bank is currently using the latest machine learning technology and user experience design to provide as many jobseekers as possible a fair chance at the roles advertised. To achieve this, the Jobs Bank has incorporated 3 new “purpose-built features”:
- The “Employer Prompt” feature would remind employers to adhere to the Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices when crafting job postings and before they are published on Jobs Bank.
- The Jobs Bank now can crawl and review all job postings published and flag out to employers any potentially discriminatory terms or mentions. Employers will be expected to amend any discriminatory job advertisements, and TAFEP will investigate any breaches of the Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices (TGFEP).
- It is also now easier for for public to report possible discrimination. It will allow jobseekers to conveniently report any discriminatory job posting they come across on Jobs Bank. TAFEP will review the reports and investigate any breaches of the job advertising guidelines.
The added features are said to help “foster a culture of fair hiring for all employers”.
MOM said that since Jan this year, it has suspended the work pass privileges for 90 employers under the Fair Consideration Framework, of which 45 are due to posting of discriminatory job advertisements.
“In one case, a private school had posted a discriminatory job advertisement on MyCareersFuture in July 2020, stating its preference for candidates under the age of 30 for the position of Legal Manager,” MOM said.
“MOM’s investigations revealed that the employer included an age limit for the position which involved more than 60 business trips a year. The employer perceived that older employees might not be able to cope with the frequent business travel and wanted to hire younger candidates instead.”
Dr Joyce Tan, Director for Digital Experience for Career Services, WSG, said, “It is timely that we look into strengthening how we detect unfair employment practices. To build an inclusive hiring culture is crucial in this climate and we are glad to be able to play our part to empower the public to be involved through the use of technology.”
Ms Faith Li, General Manager, TAFEP, said, “TAFEP is fully supportive of the new features on MyCareersFuture to help employers abide by the Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices. Technology can be a key enabler for employers to hire fairly, which in turn increases their talent pool and helps them hire suitable candidates for the job.”
Whistleblower needed to stop company from identifying pre-hires
The new technologies, however, fail to stop companies from putting up jobs advertisements just “for show” so as to enable them to hire pre-qualified foreigners on work pass later. Currently, companies need to put up jobs ads on the Jobs Bank to give the locals a chance to apply before they are allowed to hire foreigners.
Last month, the media published an article highlighting an unfair hiring case involving a finance and insurance company. The company was caught pre-selecting a foreign candidate for a managerial role at its Singapore office, after a whisleblower, the firm’s human resources manager subsequently filed a complaint with TAFEP against the company.
It was found that while the company posted a job advertisement on the Jobs Bank for the minimum period of 14 days as stipulated under the Fair Consideration Framework (FCF), the company went on to sign the employment contract with the pre-selected foreign applicant even before the job advertisement on the Jobs Bank had expired.
Furthermore, it was found that the work experience and educational qualifications of the pre-selected foreigner, a British national based at the company’s London office, also did not meet the advertised requirements.
The advertisement received more than 60 applications, with 28 fulfilling the advertised requirements, but none of the applicants were invited for interviews.
The case was subsequently referred to MOM but MOM decided to suspend the work pass privileges of the offending firm for only 6 months.
If it wasn’t for the whisleblower, the said firm mentioned earlier would have successfully recruited the British national from its London office to Singapore.
It’s not known why this British national was so “treasured” by the company’s management despite not meeting the job advertisement requirements. It’s also not known if this British national would have a chance to be hired by the company again, if the company bothers to put up a “proper wayang” show 6 months later to fool the authorities.