Yes, an employer may show preference for local workers over foreign workers because of various genuine business and employment considerations.
For example, locals have a long-term stake in Singapore’s progress and business success of their employers and provide for a stable long-term workforce. From the perspective of an employer, a core of local workers and leaders contributes to business stability and operational resilience in the event of future business disruptions (e.g. border closures or worker supply disruptions from overseas sources).
Further, locals have local knowledge and networks which can add value to the employer’s business. Businesses are also able to access various government grants that support upskilling and employment of locals