Local workers must not face ‘wanton discrimination’
Minister says scrutiny, enforcement actions against firms will be stepped up
In the current difficult economic climate, it is all the more important that Singaporeans are given fair opportunities to find meaningful work.
Companies will not be allowed to practise wanton discrimination against local workers, Second Minister for Manpower Tan See Leng told Parliament yesterday.
In his maiden speech in the House, Mr Tan said Manpower Ministry officers are working "doubly hard" on this front and have been stepping up their scrutiny and enforcement actions.
The Government will give Singaporean job seekers a stronger boost "by working with businesses to give more serious consideration to Singaporeans when hiring, especially those who are wiling to adjust their expectations and adapt", he added.
Businesses are also expected to strive harder to strengthen their Singaporean core, he said.
But he reassured employers that Singapore will not turn away global talents and investments, as skilled foreign workers allow it to remain globally competitive and provide learning opportunities for citizens.
Dr Tan, who is also a Minister in the Prime Minister's Office and Second Minister for Trade and Industry, made these points as he pledged to support two key groups of workers - young graduates and mature workers - whom he said had a "growing concentration of disengaged Singaporeans".
"We must always remember that our workers are the heart of our economy, and we must help our workforce to emerge stronger from this crisis," he said.
Mature workers are "near and dear" to him, Dr Tan, 55, added. "Our mature workers in their 40s and 50s have contributed a good part of their lives to our economy," he said.
They possess "a significant treasure of experiential knowledge and practice wisdom that cannot be replaced by or gleaned from academic pursuits or qualifications".
As they strive to prepare for new job roles, employers should consider them fairly and offer them good opportunities for improvement and progression, he added.
As for young graduates, Dr Tan said he has received feedback that they are worried about, among other things, getting a job in the current labour market.
His message: "Although you may seem to have been dealt a difficult starting hand, we will do all we can to ensure that your generation will still flourish and fulfil your potential."
He also urged all job seekers, regardless of age and background, to be realistic in their expectations and to keep an open mind about available opportunities.
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