The Joint NTUC-SNEF PME Taskforce has released its recommendations report after consultation with more than 10,000 professionals, managers, and executives (PMEs), union leaders, and business leaders. Yes, 10,000! They have done the tedious groundwork and it’s worth it for our PMEs! But wait, PSP’s Leong Mun Wai has just come out to claim a win, it appears… It seems like just not long ago that Uncle Leong was suggesting to simply doing away with foreigners to reduce displacement of our older PMEs! Yet another of his amazing suggestion meant to score political points. Well, if only things were so simple. Listen, if a company chooses to relocate because they can’t meet all their manpower needs here, ALL PMEs will be displaced.
Our increase in foreign PMETs has NOT led to worse outcomes. Dr Tan See Leng recently gave figures on employment growth, job vacancies, and rising median wages for local PMEs. The government’s strategies have worked. For example, resident median incomes grew 3.2 per cent per annum in real terms from 2010 to 2019, until the pandemic struck. Unemployment rates kept low.
From 2010 to 2020, employment for local professional, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) grew by about 300,000. Now, Uncle Leong believes that the government’s ‘foreign talent policy’ is the cause of job anxieties. But really, the issue is not about local talent versus foreign talent. This is not a zero-sum competition. We can all win together!
That said, do our PMEs need more support? YES, and the NTUC-SNEF Taskforce is on it!
The Joint NTUC-SNEF PME Taskforce did the legwork. It has released its recommendations report after consultation with more than 10,000 professionals, managers, and executives (PMEs), union leaders, and business leaders. 10,000. Yes, they have done real ground engagements! A report that includes 9 recommendations aimed at supporting mature PMEs is the result. The recommendations aim to enhance workplace fairness, provide unemployment support, ensure opportunities for mature PMEs, and support PMEs in skills upgrading.
NTUC secretary-general Ng Chee Meng, who is an adviser to the PME task force, said that the task force’s priority was to protect Singaporean PMEs’ jobs and help them achieve progression as Singapore’s demographic continues to shift towards having more PMEs in the workforce.
“In the past… we will iron out all the discussions and arguments behind closed doors and then present to you as a set of policies,” Ng Chee Meng said. “We are doing it somewhat differently. We want to really hear the ground … we wanted to hear raw feedback without necessarily constraining what are the possibilities in terms of solutions.”
NTUC assistant secretary-general Patrick Tay who co-chairs the task force shared that there are things that they feel very strongly about and we are voicing it and advocating it, and it’s for Government to respond and to do a deeper dive and think about, because it affects policies. Patrick has been persistent and vocal in the forefront fighting for a strong Singaporean core since 2011, pushing for stronger enforcement against employers who discriminate against or unfairly treat Singaporean PMEs.
The Taskforce is hard at work engaging and pushing for policies to help PMEs. BUT they need support from PMEs themselves too to join the unions as members so that NTUC can effectively provide the much-needed support as a collective voice.