Globalisation creates jobs & raise salaries?


I refer to the article “Globalisation can create jobs and raise salaries for Singaporeans: PM Lee” (Straits Times, Jun 10).

It states that “In some countries, globalisation is viewed as a monster that wrests jobs from workers.

But in Singapore, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong sees it as a creator of jobs and booster of workers’ wages.

This is because as a globalised nation, “we can play a role which is servicing the region, which is servicing the world””

As to “In doing so, “we can have jobs in Singapore which are better paying for a wide range of our people” – the minimum wage in Australia is A$18.29 (S$19.02) an hour from 1 July, 2017.

In contrast, Singapore has no minimum wage, and there are people working for as little as around S$5 an hour.

Singapore has on a relative basis among developed countries – probably the highest percentage of low income workers (about 8% – 172,900 resident workers earn below $1,000; about 19% – 407,400 resident workers earn below $1,500).

We had hardly any real increase in the median basic pay in the 14 years or so till 2014 – 5 out of the 8 major job categories had negative wage growth and 3 of 8 had near zero growth – (note: I am unable to analyse this particular statistic since 2014 or so, because I am unable to find the statistics for the “8 major job categories” anymore).

We have one of the highest poverty rates in the world as measured by the percentage of workers earning less than half the median income – about a fifth of the total Singaporean workforce.

In the two years from January 2015 to December 2016 – employment growth was 11,400 for locals (citizens unknown?) and 37,300 for foreigners, but we granted an estimated 60,000 new PRs and 40,000 new citizens in the same two-year period.

There were jobs growth of 390,300 local jobs from 2007 to 2015, against an increase of 534,600 foreign jobs.

550,000 new citizens/PRs?

If the number of new citizens and PRs in 2015 was about the same as the  50,202 (20,348 new citizens + 29,854 new PRs) in 2014 – how many of the 390,300 local jobs went to Singaporeans, against the 552,136 (estimated) new citizens and new PRs granted? (note: there is some double counting as some of the new citizens were converted from new and old PRs – without the data on PRs and new citizens who leave Singapore eventually and on a yearly basis, after being granted residency status – it may be very difficult to estimate the double counting – only the disclosure of these statistics can give clarity and transparency to these figures).

Leong Sze Hian


About the Author

Leong Sze Hian has served as president of 4 professional bodies, honorary consul of 2 countries, an alumnus of Harvard University, authored 4 books, quoted over 1500 times in the media , has been a radio talkshow host, a newspaper daily columnist, Wharton Fellow, SEACeM Fellow, columnist for theonlinecitizen and Malaysiakini, executive producer of Ilo Ilo (40 international awards), invited to speak more than 200 times in over 30 countries, CIFA advisory board member, founding advisor to the Financial Planning Associations of Indonesia and Brunei. He has 3 Masters, 2 Bachelors degrees and 13 professional  qualifications.