In a ministerial statement last month, Minister Ong Ye Kung explained why free trade agreements are important to Singapore, and how they have helped Singaporeans reap significant benefits. The same goes for our openness to foreign talent. But, what do PMEs really think of globalisation?
Workers of Singapore polled 500 PMEs and the results are as follows:
On the preference for an open or closed economy, 83% of the PMEs surveyed indicated their preference for an open economy with more trade and jobs. This, even if it meant increased competition from foreign talent. Out of the 500 respondents, 17% indicated their preference for a closed economy, even if it means less trade and opportunities.
The findings also revealed what PMEs think are the top 3 positive and negative impacts of globalisation.
Out of the 500 respondents, the vast majority (96%) recognised that free trade agreements are necessary for Singapore’s survival.
On the topic of the Singaporean Core, 92% agreed that we need to have a strong Singaporean Core, while supplementing our workforce with foreign talent. However, 3 out of 4 respondents also indicated their worries about losing their jobs to foreigners.
How do we remain competitive in today’s economy? What are the top 3 ways to stay relevant? Our data suggested that upskilling, penalties to be enforced against companies with discriminatory hiring practices and active networking within professional groups would help our PMEs remain relevant in a globalised world.
While the vast majority of our PMEs recognise the importance of globalisation and that our local workforce will reap the benefits of FTAs, their anxieties over job competition need to be addressed. As Labour MP Patrick Tay said, “More needs to be done to strengthen the Singaporean Core, further develop our local workforce’s capabilities and protect our locals from being unfairly discriminated.” Patrick has been vocal over the last decade in fighting for a strong Singaporean Core, and pushing for stronger enforcement against companies who discriminate against Singaporean PMEs. The Fair Consideration Framework (FCF) came out of his lobbying for a ‘Singaporean First’ approach in hiring. As co-chair of the NTUC-SNEF PME Taskforce, he has heard many concerns through focus group sessions involving more than 9000 PMEs. Labour Chief, Mr Ng Chee Meng also shared in his recent National Day Message that the NTUC-SNEF PME Taskforce is firming up its recommendations for sharing later this year in support of PMEs.
The work of the Labour Movement continues!