Minister: Need foreign IT talent, but IT jobs drop with age, over 70% foreigners?


Are foreign IT workers the primary cause for declining IT jobs as Singaporean IT workers get older?

After writing “Minister: Need foreign IT talent, but IT unemployment 2nd highest?” (Sep 22) – my good friend K told me that one trade ministry civil servant said that we need foreigners because of the skills mismatch of Singaporean IT workers.

IT sector and jobs most affected by FT?

Anecdotally, we understand that the Information Technology (IT) sector and IT jobs may have been most affected by our liberal foreign labour policies.

Steep decline in the number of resident jobs as they age?

According to the Ministry of Manpower’s (MOM) Singapore yearbook of manpower statistics 2018 – the total number of resident workers (Singaporeans and permanent residents (PRs)) as of June 2017, for Information and Communications ( IC) was 29,000, 27,100, 11,800 and 3,600 – for age 30 – 39, 40 – 49, 50 – 59 and 60 and over, respectively.

Amongst the 12 sectors in the services category – IC was the 6th highest in absolute numbers of workers in the age group 30 – 39 and 40 – 49. But, it declines relatively to become the 2nd lowest for age 50 – 59 and 60 and over, respectively.

What do these statistics mean?

Jobs taken by foreign workers?

Does it mean that as resident workers in IC age, their numbers decline – due to foreign workers?

Breakdown into citizens, PRs, employment pass, S-pass & work permits?

What is the breakdown of the total number of jobs in the Information and Communications category and IT jobs, into Singaporeans, PRs, employment pass, S-pass and work permits?

Isn’t it arguably, in the public interest, and in line with the online falsehoods’ committee’s recommendation that the Government should give the reasons for decisions not to disclose information to the public?

In this regard, according to the article “Infocomm media to create jobs, pump up economy” (Straits Times, Nov 4, 2017) – “By 2020, the sector that already employs 194,000 people will create another 16,000 jobs. Of these, 13,000 are expected to be professional, managerial, executive and technician (PMET) roles.”

Why is there no breakdown of the 194,000 workers into Singaporeans, permanent residents (PRs) and foreigners?

Since there were 71,500 IC resident workers in June 2017, does it mean than about 122,500 (194,000 – 71,500) were foreign workers?

And how many of the 71,500 resident workers were Singaporeans? (note: my friend who writes for theonlinecitizen has alerted me that the number shoukd be 88.700, as apparently the statistics I added do not include those age below 30)

Does it mean that about 60 per cent of the total of 194,000 workers may be non-Singaporeans?

Leong Sze Hian

About the Author

Leong Sze Hian has served as the 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), Hotel Mumbai (associate producer), invited to speak more than 200 times in about 40 countries, CIFA advisory board member, founding advisor to the Financial Planning Associations of 2 countries. He has 3 Masters, 2 Bachelors degrees and 13 professional  qualifications.