Committee of Supply Debate, Ministry of Manpower, 9 March 2015
The Jobs Bank portal was launched in July 2014. It now boasts of thousands of jobs postings, registered employers and Singaporean jobseekers. However, none of these point to its effectiveness in meeting the objective of ensuring that Singaporeans are fairly considered for jobs before firms hire foreigners. This is a key plank of the Fair Consideration Framework.
I would like to make some observations about the Jobs Bank and provide some suggestions for improvement to meet this important objective.
First, the outcomes of the Jobs Bank postings do not seem to be effectively tracked. MOM should require employers who post advertisements on the Jobs Bank to subsequently indicate whether those positions were filled, and if so, by Singaporeans or foreigners. It should be done whether or not the successful candidate came through the Jobs Bank.
This will enable MOM to track what proportion of jobs in a particular company or industry were filled by Singaporeans or foreigners. This will help track those companies’ compliance with the Fair Consideration Framework, and will also provide the Government with more detailed data about what types of jobs have local skills shortages, so as to better plan education and training policies.
Second, employers are not required to provide any evidence that they fairly considered Singaporeans for the post. They just need to advertise on the Jobs Bank for 14 calendar days before applying for an Employment Pass. In other jurisdictions, including Hong Kong, employers are required to state justifications for employing a foreign candidate and the reasons why the post cannot be filled by locals, before an employment pass is issued.
Third, S-pass applications do not require a prior Jobs Bank posting. These should be included as well, so that Singaporean PMETs have greater opportunities to apply and be fairly considered for these positions.