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Thread: Why foreign talents are preferred over Singaporeans (in my friend's friend's company)

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    Default Why foreign talents are preferred over Singaporeans (in my friend's friend's company)

    Over the new year, I met up with a good friend for a chat. He told me about the above story with regards to his close friend who is a boss of a SME.

    Here was his friend - the boss's story. This is a true story. However, please take note that it does not represent other employers. You can treat is as a exclusive case. This is not about bashing FTs thread, just sharing with you on the insight story about a local SME.

    Some time ago, the boss who is a Singaporean, believing that Singaporeans should be given the first chance to be employed. With this mindset, he recruited a few years old experience Singaporean who is a diploma holder for a position in operations. He was paid $3,800 monthly salary. In order to fulfill the job, this new guy needed to go for 3 months training which was sponsored by the company. Unfortunately, the company's payoff was not harvesting any result. Upon completion of the 3 months training, this diploma holder guy with the acquired new skills and knowledge tendered his resignation, citing better offer from other companies. The boss felt rejected but it was ok since people come and go. With the first setback, he still believes in employing Singaporean first.

    Later on, he managed to recruit a Singaporean fresh graduate with no experience, paying him $3,300 monthly salary. Again, this new guy went for the 3 months training, fully sponsored by the company. It was very unfortunate that this new guy also resigned shortly after completed the training. The reason cited was because another company offered him a slightly higher salary.

    With these 2 setbacks, the boss began to think whether his original ideology is realistic. It seems to him that many Singaporeans are ungrateful, no company loyalty, want less work but high salary.

    Finally, he decided to employ foreign talents - 2 Filipinos to see if there is any difference. There is a great difference according to him. Not only the cost is lesser to the company but the working attitudes are much better than those 2 Singaporeans. They come to work at 7am (official start time is 8am); very on the ball. They are also very polite and courteous; they will greet you when they see you. They even prepare coffee for the boss. Their working attitudes are very positive simply because they know that if they under performed, their employment pass will be invoked and they will have to go back to their own country. Most of these FTs want to come to Singapore to work because of strong Sing dollar, employment ability based on meritocracy, etc. They stand a very high chance competing with the locals. This is very unique to Singapore.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Nikonzen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why foreign talents are preferred over Singaporeans.

    I would argue that it is not unique to Singapore at all. It happens here where I live too...that is why so many people are riled up about it on our national stage. Almost identical attitudes are involved. And it happens at all strata of income levels as well...from the poor through the rich. I can provide examples if your interested.
    Last edited by Nikonzen; 14th January 2015 at 04:01 AM.
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    Default Re: Why foreign talents are preferred over Singaporeans.

    I'd say sending the new employees to a 3-month course right away is the big mistake, isn't it?

    They have not proven anything, have no ties to anyone in the company, and certainly no loyalty - then they're shipped off to a 90-day course where probably they'd meet their peers from other companies. Once they compare packages and benefits, they'd jump ship if they find a better deal.

    Compared to a foreign worker, who has no choice but to stay with the company that employed him because they hold his documents and I don't think they can jump ship so easily.

    Maybe your friend should implement some sort of in-house training first, then send them to the course only after they're confirmed.

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    Moderator daredevil123's Avatar
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    I was running a small consulting company a while back. I only hired PR and Singapore citizens. I have come across headache cases who are both native singaporeans and foreign born people. But my most loyal employee is from taiwan.

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    Member Bukitimah's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why foreign talents are preferred over Singaporeans.

    It is never the same for all cases.However, if the incentives given to the indivual is something he canot match else where, that will translate to.loyalty.

    Simple illustration, someone offer the 2 FT a higher pay, and he could move, will they stay?

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    Another way may be to sign a 1 year bond, which is only fair to the company.

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    Senior Member UncleFai's Avatar
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    An employer friend said to me: "There is always some better yet willing to work for less for the same job."

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    Default Re: Why foreign talents are preferred over Singaporeans.

    Quote Originally Posted by lkf73 View Post
    Another way may be to sign a 1 year bond, which is only fair to the company.
    I thought most companies do a probation period? If you are crap, why hold on to you for 1 year? But it's a double edged sword too, since as I understand it, both parties (employer and employee) can terminate the employment with 1 day notice. So employee can also go on training then jump ship to other company for higher pay.

    If by 1 year bond you mean that employee must work for 1 year but employer can fire you within that 1 year, then I think it's a bit unfair for the employee also.

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    Moderator Octarine's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why foreign talents are preferred over Singaporeans.

    Quote Originally Posted by UncleFai View Post
    An employer friend said to me: "There is always some better yet willing to work for less for the same job."
    The constant search for the cheaper workers is the root cause for Singapore's current situation.
    It would be much better to phrase it: There is always someone doing a better job for the same money. Or: for a slightly higher salary I can get someone doing a much better job.
    (Do note: better does not equal to faster, unless the job is just simple menial work.)
    EOS

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    Moderator Octarine's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why foreign talents are preferred over Singaporeans.

    Quote Originally Posted by brapodam View Post
    If by 1 year bond you mean that employee must work for 1 year but employer can fire you within that 1 year, then I think it's a bit unfair for the employee also.
    It depends on the termination reasons. If the employee performs as expected then there is no reason to terminate. Insufficient performance is a different story.
    Companies should have spent enough time to check whether the employee is really required. So there would not be a reason to lay off the person just because he is no longer needed. Here any employee can also verify the conditions of the bond. I wouldn't sign a single-sided bond that holds me tied to one year but leaves the company all the 'flexibility'.
    EOS

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    Default Re: Why foreign talents are preferred over Singaporeans.

    I'm working in a sme. and expected, Most of the employees are foreigner.

    My experience for them generally , their attitudes are really better than Singaporean from my experience

    But u should also consider these facts, 1)majority r not staying here for the rest of their life

    2) they r New in this country hence they r either afraid, it's like ur behavior at home vs ur behavior in ur mother in law house

    3) some of the sme bosses have some tricks to making their worker LSS like keeping their passport or keep partial of their pay.

    But of course, some have good working attitudes r because they appreaciate n culture they practices in their country.
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    Senior Member Nikonzen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why foreign talents are preferred over Singaporeans.

    I'm trying to tread lightly here but if this comment doesn't past muster please delete it and I promise to refrain from making such comments in the future.

    As an outsider looking at Singapore from afar it seems to me the rules of geography alone should discourage immigration. However if it is a must for industrial and technological growth than I suppose it is necessary. But we are not talking a "big" country here so it presents unique perhaps never before seen challenges for sure.

    I guess the bigger question is must everyone surrender something or maybe be forced to adapt and conform their national identity in some fashion in order to play in the global world?
    Last edited by Nikonzen; 14th January 2015 at 12:26 PM.
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    Default Re: Why foreign talents are preferred over Singaporeans.

    if you talk about pay.

    when the foreigner can manage to buy a house back in his hometown and can easily feed his family,the mindset would be positive in the job in overseas.

    while a Singaporean need to work for 25-30 years just to pay for a small flat. the Singaporean would always think to get a more higher paying job

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    Senior Member UncleFai's Avatar
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    Happened several years ago: bumped into a friend who was unemployed for some time. He told me that he has been going for those government skill upgrading programme.

    I asked: "Don't they also help you find jobs?"

    He said: "Ya useless buggers. I went for a few interviews they set up for me. Either too far, low pay, physically demanding, long hours or shift work. Useless lah."
    Last edited by UncleFai; 14th January 2015 at 01:32 PM.

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    Default Re: Why foreign talents are preferred over Singaporeans (in my friend's friend's comp

    Fully agreed with leg n hands up.
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    Quote Originally Posted by UncleFai View Post
    Happened several years ago: bumped into a friend who was unemployed for some time. He told me that he has been going for those government skill upgrading programmed.

    I asked: "Don't they also help you find jobs?"

    He said: "Ya useless buggers. I went for a few interviews they set up for me. Either too far, low pay, physically demanding, long hours or shift work. Useless lah."

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    Senior Member Big Kahuna's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why foreign talents are preferred over Singaporeans (in my friend's friend's comp

    This is very true, I have the same problem in my department, local guys just couldn't stay in the position more than a year...at the end we outsouce and let other company supply and manage this headcount...the turn over is still pretty high but at least we get the replacement straighaway without going through the recruitment process over and over again

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    Senior Member UncleFai's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why foreign talents are preferred over Singaporeans.

    Quote Originally Posted by undercoverone View Post
    if you talk about pay.

    when the foreigner can manage to buy a house back in his hometown and can easily feed his family,the mindset would be positive in the job in overseas.

    while a Singaporean need to work for 25-30 years just to pay for a small flat. the Singaporean would always think to get a more higher paying job
    But if you are a SME boss and no one else cares whether you make money or die except yourself, would you give this consideration high priority?

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    Default Re: Why foreign talents are preferred over Singaporeans.

    Quote Originally Posted by undercoverone View Post
    if you talk about pay.

    when the foreigner can manage to buy a house back in his hometown and can easily feed his family,the mindset would be positive in the job in overseas.

    while a Singaporean need to work for 25-30 years just to pay for a small flat. the Singaporean would always think to get a more higher paying job
    Some of us work all our life and can't even afford a car. Along comes a PRC working as a clerk and after 3 months buys a condo and then 1 year later buys a brand new car ... all paid for in cash ................. you tell me what is happening here. ........ Where did the money come from? Your guess is as good as mine .......

    OT abit ......I heard one PRC tell another that if you want Singapore citizenship; just get your spouse pregnant and you automatically qualify........ Is this true?

    That's why they are classified as talents and we are just average Joe.........
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    Senior Member Big Kahuna's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why foreign talents are preferred over Singaporeans (in my friend's friend's comp

    Not true

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    Senior Member Nikonzen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why foreign talents are preferred over Singaporeans.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zenten View Post
    Some of us work all our life and can't even afford a car. Along comes a PRC working as a clerk and after 3 months buys a condo and then 1 year later buys a brand new car ... all paid for in cash ................. you tell me what is happening here. ........ Where did the money come from? Your guess is as good as mine .......

    OT abit ......I heard one PRC tell another that if you want Singapore citizenship; just get your spouse pregnant and you automatically qualify........ Is this true? (This seems to be lacking in some regard to me. I'm sure there is a lot more to it than just tangoing.)

    That's why they are classified as talents and we are just average Joe.........
    The same exact thing happens here too! One way it works is that many of these "foreigners" have deep pockets backing them. Their families have done well they have contacts and good credit lines so they are able to jump ahead economically. (One really can't blame them for this IMO) Many of them do not even work very hard nor are they always the brightest light in the sky. It is the capitalistic way and perfectly legal and reasonable I guess. It is just the way the game is played. It sucks sometimes.

    PS bro...I can barely afford a car (20+ years old!!) and it is way cheaper here!
    Last edited by Nikonzen; 14th January 2015 at 02:36 PM.
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