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Another 47 employers placed on the Fair Consideration Framework Watchlist

  1. The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has placed another 47 employers on the Fair Consideration Framework (FCF) Watchlist as their workforce profiles indicate that they may have discriminatory hiring practices. This adds to the list of 1,200 employers that we have previously scrutinised under the FCF since 2016 (see Annex A for background on the FCF Watchlist).
  2. These employers will have their Employment Pass (EP) applications closely scrutinised, and those who are recalcitrant or uncooperative will have their work pass privileges cut back. 30 of the employers are in the Financial Services and Professional Services sectors, while 17 of them are in a variety of sectors, such as Administrative and Support Services, Manufacturing and Education.

    Details of employers placed on the FCF Watchlist
  3. The 47 employers comprise a mix of large and smaller firms – with the largest employing close to 2,000 PMETs. These employers hire some 2,000 EP holders, and more than 2,800 local PMETs collectively. While these firms were supporting local PMET employment, their workforce profiles raise concerns, when compared to industry peers.
  4. Employers taken to task include banks and fund managers, as well as management consulting firms and firms that provide project management and engineering services. A number of these employers were placed on the FCF Watchlist because they have exceptionally high shares of foreign PMETs compared to their industry peers. For example, 18 firms have foreigners comprising more than half of their PMET workforce, significantly higher compared to their industry peers.
  5. In addition, all 30 employers from the Financial Services and Professional Services sectors have high concentration of PMETs from single nationalities. For example, in one wealth management firm, almost three-quarters of their PMETs are from the same nationality. In another example of a bank, almost two-thirds of the PMETs are of the same nationality. We will subject their hiring to closer scrutiny to ensure that there is no nationality bias against locals, which is unacceptable and not in line with fair, merit-based hiring.
  6. In addition to these 47 firms, MOM has also identified 240 firms via data analytics for further investigation of possible pre-selection of foreigners or not adhering to the spirit of the FCF job advertising requirement.
  7. To date, the MOM has scrutinised a total of more than 1,200 employers under the FCF since 2016. In all, 3,200 EP applications have been rejected or withheld by MOM, or withdrawn by employers. Over the same time period, employers on the FCF Watchlist have hired more than 4,800 Singaporean PMETs.

    Observations of FCF Watchlist employers in the Financial Services and Professional Services sectors
  8. With the new batch of employers placed on the watchlist, about 190 employers from the Financial Services and Professional Services sectors have been placed on the FCF Watchlist since 2016.
  9. In its initial engagement with these employers, the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP) found that they are often not familiar with the skillset of local jobseekers, and the government’s support measures to help local workers reskill and upskill. For example, some firms claimed that they were unable to find local workers with the required expertise or experience, including for more technical roles such as Senior Software Engineers and UX Designers, when in fact they had not cast their net wide enough, such as by tapping on Professional Conversion Programmes. Other employers assumed that local workers lacked the global exposure necessary to function effectively across the multiple countries that they operate in, as some roles such as Portfolio Manager or Product Manager require market-specific knowledge.
  10. For instance, an employer in the Professional Services sector that was acting for international clients and needed staff with knowledge of the culture and preferences of its clients’ countries, thought that locals may not have the requisite skillsets. Through TAFEP’s engagement after it was placed on the FCF Watchlist, it realised that there was a wider pool of suitable candidates if it also considered locals who had experience in the relevant overseas markets. The firm’s global rotation programme also provided local employees with opportunities to gain international exposure at their overseas branches. It further contributed to the development of young talent for the industry through internships and management trainee programmes.
  11. Through TAFEP’s intervention, most employers reviewed their hiring practices to give local jobseekers a fair chance. They adjusted their hiring process to actively expand their search networks to reach out to more local candidates and tapped on Workforce Singapore and NTUC-e2i’s services, as well as programmes for training and upskilling such as free workshops for emerging technologies. As a result, these employers found that they were able to hire local employees to meet their manpower needs, and now have in place a more sustainable recruitment and development strategy to drive their growth in Singapore. The employers also participated in internship and management trainee programmes to build and develop the local talent pool.
  12. Of the 190 employers from these two sectors that were placed on the FCF Watchlist, more than 100 have since exited the Watchlist, after demonstrating strong commitment to improve their hiring practices. TAFEP will continue to work with the remaining firms, including the 47 firms newly placed on the FCF Watchlist to similarly encourage them to provide fair hiring and development opportunities for local jobseekers. In addition, MOM urges all employers to adopt exemplary employment practices by tapping on the various Government schemes to develop a strong Singaporean core. Examples of exemplary employers under the Human Capital Partnership (HCP) programme and their progressive employment practices can be found in Annex B.

    Building the local talent pool in the Financial Services and Professional Services sectors
  13. The government has put in place a range of programmes in the Financial Services and Professional Services sectors to build the local talent pool. For example:

    • Monetary Authority of Singapore’s (MAS) training schemes: Financial Institutions (FIs) can tap on the recently-enhanced Finance Associate Management Scheme to hire Singaporean fresh graduates or mid-career switchers and the Asian Financial Leaders Scheme to train FIs’ local staff in navigating the diverse business, regulatory, and legal environment in the region.
    • Institute of Banking and Finance Singapore (IBF)’s Technology in Finance Immersion Programme (TFIP): Allows firms to attach and train individuals to perform roles in Cloud Computing, Cybersecurity, Data Analytics, Artificial Intelligence, and Full Stack Development.
    • Professional Conversion Programmes (PCPs): Workforce Singapore launched PCPs in digital advertising, digital marketing communications and management accounting careers for the Professional Services sector. To-date, about 1,800 local PMETs have been placed and trained under these PCPs.

    Conclusion
  14. MOM does not tolerate unfair hiring practices, and employers who do not give locals a fair chance in hiring and promotion will face scrutiny and stiff penalties if found to have unfair hiring practices. During these challenging times, we will be extra vigilant against unfair hiring, to ensure that local jobseekers are treated fairly. We urge members of the public to report specific instances of discriminatory behaviour at www.tafep.sg/report-workplace-discrimination-and-workplace-harassment for investigation. MOM and TAFEP take all complaints seriously, and will keep the identity of whistleblowers confidential. Employers found to have breached fair hiring requirements will be barred from hiring or renewing foreign workers for up to two years, and may face prosecution if they made false declarations on fair consideration.