Connect with us


Singapore employers may consider overseas hiring as flexible work arrangements become normative, CNA reports

As Singapore introduces tripartite guidelines for flexible work arrangements starting in December, CNA reports that employers are expressing concerns over the new requirements, with some considering hiring from cheaper labour markets abroad.



As Singapore institutes new tripartite guidelines requiring companies to fairly consider employees’ requests for flexible work arrangements (FWA) starting in December, some employers are expressing concerns about the potential impact on local hiring.

According to a report by Channel News Asia (CNA), these concerns may lead some businesses to seek labour markets beyond Singapore’s borders, where costs are lower.

Ms Tan Wan Ting, the founder of digital marketing agency Weave Asia, told CNA that while her company already allows for flexi-place arrangements, the prospect of incorporating flexi-time such as staggered hours could complicate operations. She fears this could impact employee availability and responsiveness, crucial for client interactions.

With the cost of hiring in Singapore significantly higher than in neighbouring countries, Tan pointed out that the financial incentive to hire regionally could become too advantageous to overlook unless local talents distinctly excel.

“Why do I need to hire full-time staff now if there are flexi-work hours? Might as well I gather a pool of talent, I pay them by the hour,” she explained.

Mr Felix Sim, founder of blockchain venture builder Salad Ventures, similarly sees the growing irrelevance of a ‘local’ premium in hiring.

His company, which practices a hybrid work model with mandatory office days, views the shift towards more flexible work arrangements as an opportunity to enhance their remote workforce, potentially reducing reliance on Singapore-based employees.

These sentiments reflect a broader trend underscored by various studies indicating that Singapore is the most overworked country in the Asia Pacific region.

A 2022 study by the Singapore Business Review found that the average worker in Singapore logs 45-hour weeks, contributing to significant unhappiness and burnout among employees. Another study by global professional services firm Aon and Telus Health in 2022 reported that 52% of workers in Singapore felt more stress than in previous years, with 64% concerned about the impact of mental health issues on their careers.

Netizens reacting to the CNA article shared diverse perspectives on this shift towards more flexible work models.

One commenter noted, “This kind of staggered working hours and flexibility have been a normal practice in MNCs. Local companies need to change their conventional mindset.” Another argued that companies would naturally prefer hiring foreigners who are perceived to be more willing to work extended hours due to fewer domestic obligations.

However, some expressed optimism about the potential for a more balanced work culture similar to those in Nordic countries. “Family time comes first. Don’t talk about India or China workers; we need to be a smarter and happier labor force like Finland or Sweden,” one comment read.

Despite these evolving work dynamics, the challenge remains in implementing these arrangements in a manner that feels fair to all employees, as noted by HSBC Singapore’s head of HR, Mukul Anand. Ensuring fairness and consistency across various roles and departments, along with reevaluating performance models to focus on outcomes, are crucial steps businesses must undertake.

Old Hen Coffee Bar’s co-founder, Mr. Terry Lim, highlighted the practical difficulties in formalizing flexi-work arrangements, particularly for frontline staff, illustrating the complexities involved in sectors where physical presence is essential.

According to the guidelines, employers are expected to respond to FWA requests within two months of receiving them.

While employers maintain the right to decline such requests, their decisions must be justified by reasonable business grounds, such as cost or productivity concerns. They should include the reason for rejection in the written decision.

Furthermore, the guidelines outline what constitutes unreasonable grounds for rejecting requests.

These guidelines were introduced following the government’s endorsement of all recommendations made by a tripartite workgroup, approximately eight months after its formation to address the issue of FWAs.

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) stated that in instances where employers are non-compliant or deliberately refuse to adhere to the guidelines, the ministry may issue warnings and mandate attendance at corrective workshops.

Share this post via:
Continue Reading
Notify of
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Its already happening , so what?
Only now the bodies work in SG…next time they will stay put in their country or anywhere they wish& work remotely.. for those high end jobs…
But manual labour etc still …slog in sin city with low pay..

So you still think foreigners create jobs for Singaporeans?

Whence push comes to shove, foreign agents and actors will be less, … costly, demanding and pretentious than the chip on their shoulders locals !!!

So, whatever work formats that gets introduced or trending, … employers watching their bottom line and mental health, will invariably and ultimately opt for the non~locals !!!

SillyPoreans only have themselves to blame, … for nurturing and spoon feeding generations upon generations of spoilt, entitled and overly ambitious without the clout beings !!!

Begin working at home with Google! It’s by a wide margin pg the best occupation I’ve had. Last Wednesday I got a fresh out of the box new BMW since getting a check for $13474 this – a month past. I started this 8-months prior and promptly was bringing home at any rate $every hour. I work through this connection, 
Go To Tech Tab For Work Detail……….. W­w­w.S­m­a­r­t­P­a­y­7.c­o­m

Now really from 94.5% jobs goes to FTs to 99.5% coming.
Flexi lah….flexi somemore loh!
Instead of making Bosses more incline to employ Sinkie, now make the push for Bossess either to relocate out or employ more FTs!
Song boh?😆😆😆🤣🤣🤣

Said before many times. In Singapore, in order to maximize revenues, all, if not many, employers will hire cheaper foreigners. This is an undeniable fact. Whoever employers said that foreigners are more ambitious at work, they work harder and etc, are all BS. Why the foreign workers work harder? Because most of them are been forced to work harder, if not the employers will threaten to cancel their WP/SP/EP. At the end of the day, the main and sole reason to hire foreigners is because they are CHEAP! If the employers tell you people foreigners are more talented and capable… Read more »

Can forsee more problems to come and “money laundering ” connected to such processes.
More Sgs are going to lose jobs ..

“…A 2022 study by the Singapore Business Review found that the average worker in Singapore logs 45-hour weeks, contributing to significant unhappiness and burnout among employees. Another study by global professional services firm Aon and Telus Health in 2022 reported that 52% of workers in Singapore felt more stress than in previous years, with 64% concerned about the impact of mental health issues on their careers...” ——————- Again we see an incoherent official stance. Didn’t a more recent survey showed Singaporeans are most happy In Asia? If we have improved since 2022 to being most happy in 2023/24, then the… Read more »

Just shows MOM knows that there will be more employability issues for Singaporeans, not LESS. Using cheap labor to grow GDP – FAILED. Thinks foreign talents can improve our competitive edge – FAILED. Thinks foreigners can be integrated into our society – FAILED. Thinks babies can be made in small spaces – FAILED. Thinks creating some jobs for foreign labor/talents can create more jobs for Singaporeans – FAILED.

And so this WFH initiative will also likely FAIL and/or brings unwanted issues looking back a few years from now.

“We have Your backs”. Who spoke this?

Useful idiots.

Yes, time to reduce total population from close to 6m now to 5m.

Property prices will be back to normal