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A Singaporean’s struggle in home country: Job insecurity and foreign preference in the workforce

A Singaporean degree holder recounts in a letter, the challenge of finding employment amid preferences for foreign talents, despite local qualifications and experience.



by Henry

I’m a Singaporean degree holder who will be almost 40 this year.

In December 2021, I was retrenched during the COVID-19 pandemic. It was the toughest year for me.

However, that’s obviously not the case for some in Singapore.

I have a sister-in-law who is Malaysian and got married to my brother last year.

She apparently got hired at a local bank because she knew her boss (the branch director) and his wife, who are also Malaysians Despite lacking the proper qualifications for an IT job.

I think she got the job because the boss she knows hired her.

Now, she’s earning close to 6K per month, whereas previously, she was working in Singapore as a sales promoter and earning below 2K. I couldn’t help but think this is unfair to Singaporean workers.

Out of desperation, I approached my Malaysian sister-in-law and asked if she could ask her boss to recommend me for a job in the bank.

However, things did not turn out well. I snapped when I was rejected, as she claimed that her boss only wanted to employ Malaysians and believed they were more hardworking than Singaporeans.

I snapped because I had to ask a Malaysian to help me look for a job in Singapore when I am a Singaporean.

She also claimed that recent promotions in her bank branch were all Malaysians as they tend to work beyond working hours without reimbursement, but Singaporeans tend to complain about working beyond office hours without pay.

When I asked my sister-in-law why, she told me that if there is unfinished work, it would be counted as your own fault and you will not be eligible to claim for overtime pay. However, Malaysians tend to work overtime without overtime pay, and thus, they were promoted.

To me, I see this as simply unfair exploitation. For the next few months, I went to various interviews, and apply for various jobs through portals like my but to no avail.

The truth is, most HR interviewers and managers I came across are also Foreign talents. I was wondering why all these jobs went to foreigners instead of Singaporeans.

To me, being hardworking is one thing.

The truth is, that employers will always tend to exploit when they can make workers work more without paying.

For Malaysians, they have nothing to lose.

Back in Malaysia, SGD 300-400K can allow them to buy a Porsche, a condominium in Kuala Lumpur or a bungalow with land outside of KL.

Moreover, Malaysians can bring back their earnings and have a 3.5X boost while converting to ringgit. With a much lower cost of living, Malaysians can work in Singapore and then retire rich in Malaysia with a bungalow, land, and a car.

However, in Singapore, 300-400K can barely allow us to buy a cramped-up resale 3-room HDB, and it seems retirement is not feasible at all for the majority of Singaporeans. So what is there for Singaporeans to look for here when our jobs are being snapped up by foreign talents?

Currently, I work various odd jobs to sustain as I have a house, wife and ageing parent to support. Ironically, I got a part-time job at an overseas IT company.

The government always says they need foreign talents to fill in the gaps with the jobs that Singaporeans are not willing to do – such as cleaners, heavy machinery, or construction jobs.

Moreover, I see foreigners being promoted to managers, directors, and even CEOs. In many other countries, such positions are culturally reserved for locals, but Singapore does the contrary.

I also see a disproportionately high number of fit Singaporeans of working age (25-50) doing Grab deliveries. So, has our education failed? Why aren’t all these people working in proper jobs?

What is there for Singaporeans to consider Singapore as their home country when more and more employers are now foreign talents who only want to employ non-citizens?

This letter was submitted through Gutzy’s contact form and edited for clarity with permission from the letter submitter.

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Very true and it’s most unfortunate that nothing is being done on this matter . Preferences should always be given to Sporeans but this is not the case n most sad . The qualifications of Sporean applications from local institutes, are of the highest , if not the best , and yet deprived of
employment .

I believed that eventually pple from this country might retire in up north due to the high cost of living

I believed that for the foreign professional n if they were to face retrechment, at least they can go back to their countries on a safe side.

What does ” VOTE WISELY ” mean ?

For the average uncle and auntie voters, it means sticking their guns with PAP.
To them Wisdom is found only in PAP.

So Better to Say it straight and blunt to the point :-
Vote the Opposition “.

I can see why PAP kept winning at every GE.

Its no phenomenon because we stupidly encourage them to ” VOTE WISELY “.

To me it seems there is an entitlement issue from your part when you are stating that you had to ask a Malaysian to get a job in Singapore. In the end it is all about network, not necessarily nationality. Also if I were your brothers partner or your brother I would really doubt whether you wished the best for us. I am guessing below the anger that you omit, there is a sadness and loneliness that you may want to adress first before blaming your environment for your situation.

Voted for PAP and things got worse and worse. No job, lost welfare, lost pension, everything.

From being put out by NS, NSR to being scammed by wishy-washy policies.
180 degree U-turning, msin made.

Sg is the fool, love to be praised like socialist.
“Socialists run out of other people’s money soon” …Margaret Thatcher

Scammed by rich folks from democratic countries where folks are rich like msia, india, whilst country is poorer
These scammers tell the world and foolish Sg they are poor. So immi scammers get funded supported instead.

Noted some Sg ministers are msin, returned to msia.

Real reason is not hardworking or not. As revealed you are dealing with scammers stealing welfare, pension$. Their mistake is making savings rate look like CPF rate so need million of them to cover up. Yes, $B stolen. This is why some won’t employ Sgpn. Mostly trying to siphon money. One HR already revealed : “We can’t have Asian here, else it won’t work”. Haha, they are dumb, too simple-minded. All their schemes are known. Just pretending dont know only. Mostly SPR, msin with Indy at MAS working against the nation. Mostly not qualified, balls carrier. Some have fake qualifications… Read more »

Staying longer in the office does not mean hardworking, it just wastage!

FTs are happy to stay longer hours in the office as they have nothing better to do, they have no family here.

If the employers allowed them to sleep in the office, they were happy to do so!

What we want is productivity! Only if employers know what it is?

Finance is a scam fear industry.
They are colluding to siphon money as fees, so try to keep confidential amongst themselves what to hype.

This is not how it is done in other countries.

Security, defence are similar.
So is healthcare.

Sg is using Sgpn money to bring these companies to Sg. They won’t be in Sg if they can’t profit. If they are not beneficial to Sg, they should be gone like those creating different classes.

I heard you Bro! Do note that “pay-outs” being issued from now and then to “low-income” Singaporeans! But you are “unfortunate”and I’m surprised there is “good ranking well-educated uni-graduate born and raised in a well-developed, rich and diversify nation here ” still struggle for a decent job. Why do we still need to import to fill the gap? Is it we lack of relevant resources or we do not have the relevant expertise? And why? Someone did mentioned about the education system. Did the education system failed? Someone also mentioning about grab riders. Many of our poly students did not… Read more »

Thanks for bringing this up. I realised my ex hr is also FT . took over and several singaporeans left after the new FT came in. my workplaces comprises mainly PRs and FT. singaporean comes and go , not that they don’t want to stay but its a tactic – hiring takes time, 1 month can save 6k for company by hr. anyway I am in facilities not banking industry.

This guy is a typical loser. The real problem is he never wants to upgrade himself and starts blaming the Malaysians. If I were him, I would just go jump down from MBS. What a loser! Just like those oppie voters. Keep voting for oppies and lose elections after elections. You guys deserve each other.

I totally agree. They will recommend their village friends who are not even talented & they get recruited. Sporeans are bypass with not even an interview chance. Or the company bring in engineers fr overseas to fill the vacancy.You go to the companies & so many are fr the SAME COUNTRY.Sometimes the HR will pretend to interview Sporeans , when they already have some foreigner lined up. So that they can get the employment pass approved.Later you see the post is filled by the foreigner . When u check yr exp & qualifications on Linkedin, they are worst than you.… Read more »

In SG, we already have almost 2 million Malaysians in a population of 5.5million.

Our PAP’s government is getting more to come. Not only from Malaysia.

So if you still want to vote for PAP, this will continue, because Singaporeans agreed to be screwed.

Now it may be too late, new citizen is out voting true blue Singaporeans. Even if all Singaporeans voted Oppositions, and new Citizen voted PAP. PAP still win. Just do your math.

Had a similar experience with a malaysian ED in DBS. Told me his foreigners guys are hardworking. Probably implying that i am not when we just met and he barely knew me . Fxxk you lah. Had many foreigners under me over the years and never once remotely as mean to them like this guy.

The ONLY way to change such policy is to reduce their numbers in pariahment as a first step.

And step 2 is to ultimately boot then out so that it’s their turn to look for a job with a Malaysian.

Explain this to your mother, aunties, grandparents, siblings so that a momentum can be built to push them out together. Can be done if Malaysians can now be recruiters in Singapore banks and companies.

A spoilt and shallow populace with a chip on their shoulders, … are now facing the realities of their decisions, stemming from decades of buying into propaganda and the nurtured belief that they are “better than most” !!!

There’s still time, cos we’re not there yet. More, … much much more need to suffer at the hands and decisions of this regime, before there’s even a minutiae of shift in attitude or belief.

Hey, … it’s gotta get worse, a lot lot worse, before it gets better !!!

Didn’t a Millionaire Politician Mentioned they have our backs? Is HE a LIAR?

Sinkies dug this “hole” for themselves to mud bath & they seem oblivious to the fact that Papee don’t give a “F” to all of them from the “smokescreen” answers you hear in LumparLeement on this subject.

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Dun worrie. Lawrence Wrong just upped the GST to 9% so the govt can help people like you cope with cost of living. Didn’t you get your share of GST vouchers? No wonder Shanmugam now has to look for Sri Lankans to be auxilliary police officers because most of our physically fit men are doing Grab deliveries, a job that I believe foreigners are not allowed to do.

Take your Revenge when the time comes..
You know what to do right?

So be sure to Vote Wisely coming GE..
Spread the word..

Said before.
In Singapore, in order to maximize revenues, all, if not most, employers will usually hire foreigners for high-level jobs (not because they are talented) but at lower wages, and Singaporeans for low-level jobs at low wages.
Vote wisely in this coming election if you people do not want yourselves and your decendants to suffer and suffer and suffer.

Who did he vote for?

Your education system has failed. Your Ministry of Manpower has failed. Your ruling government has failed you.

What do you have left? Singapore is still a republic. You better vote wisely in the upcoming election.

If Singapore were to become a two-tiered economy (Or as some called it a K-shape). Well, that would be the end of the road.

I repeat again

I will employ FT too

shitgsporean out