Singapore’s workforce now comprises an already massive number of foreigners, and should the recently approved population white paper for 6.9 million population take effect, that number can only be set to rise. With such a large number of foreign workers, there are bound to be effects and problems that root from there, and these effects and problems affect many Singaporeans, which results in Singaporeans’ unhappiness, and these are what I feel are the reasons Singaporeans are unhappy with the large foreign workforce.
The biggest problem of having so many foreign workers is that in Singapore, there are only so many jobs, and if so many foreigners take up a big portion of the jobs, the number of jobs available for the locals would not be aplenty, and the locals will encounter problems finding a job. Many locals, be it whether they are graduates, industry veterans or people looking to change their field of work, have to search for a job for a long time, some even for over a year before they even find a job. As this problem plagues the job industry, the locals are becoming very unhappy as they feel that they cannot even get a job in their own country, because foreigners, people whose allegiance lies elsewhere, can have the privilege of securing a job here while Singaporeans need to fight with each other and other foreigners for just a job which they do not even know if a foreigner may get the job that they are fighting for instead of a Singaporean.
Another problem that makes people unhappy is the low pay for jobs that pay much better in other countries, such as the job of a bus driver or cleaners which pays only a few hundred monthly here, but a similar job in an equally developed or better country such as Norway or the United Kingdom could pay more than $3000 and even up to $5000. This disparity in income is not seen just in low pay jobs, but also others such as office work and almost every job ranging from construction and engineering to doctors and lawyers. This a situation is created by most foreigners willing to work for a lower pay, since the strong Singapore dollar means that even the low pay is worth a lot more in their own countries, but by agreeing to work at lower pay, they have effectively pushed down the average wage amount and resulting in the lower pay in jobs compared to other countries, and the lower pay not make the fact that Singapore has high costs of living any better.
A large number employers choose foreign workers over Singaporeans not just because of their willingness to work at lower pay, but they would also usually comply to work long hours, and are seen to be more hardworking, street smart and less defiant. Employers can also cut costs further by hiring foreign workers over Singaporeans as they do not have to contribute CPF and other benefits such as maternity leave(since most foreign workers work here without their families. This leaves the locals disadvantaged compared to their foreign counterparts, and having to play second fiddle to foreign workers in the job market in their own country definitely would not make anyone happy anytime. Even in the case of student graduates, a foreign student would have a higher chance if securing a job here because he/she does not need to serve National Service and would be ahead of their local male counterparts in their education and would have the first chances in getting a studied course related job compared to the local males, which might be unable to find a job or have to settle for lesser, for the reasons mentioned above.
Singaporeans are very unhappy with the large foreign workforce, and if something such as a minimum wage system is not done or implemented to solve some of these problems, this unhappiness would persist and lead to other consequences such as lack of faith in the country or a more major discrimination against foreign workers.
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