NEW DELHI: Firmly placed in the centre of the world's most promising growth area, Singapore-based companies continue to hire steadily, with talent from India benefiting from the demand.
But 60,000 new jobs for Indian nationals? No way.
That was the Ministry of Manpower's (MOM)response to queries from The Straits Times about a Times of India report which claimed that Singapore expected to hire 300,000 mid- to senior-level workers this year. It cited unnamed hiring firms as saying that 60,000 of them would be from India.
The Times report has generated a buzz among the social networking community in Singapore, with many posting the article online. This, in turn, drew comments from other users, including many who asked if the hiring of foreigners would continue unabated. The influx of foreign workers was a hot-button issue in the May 7 General Election.
In its response, however, the MOM called the 60,000 figure 'unrealistic'.
It pointed out that for the whole of last year, when Singapore saw sparkling economic growth of 14.7 per cent, 59,700 foreign workers were hired from a spread of countries including India, China and Malaysia. This brought the total number of Employment Pass and S Pass holders to 240,000.
It added that in 2009, when Singapore saw negative growth, foreign employment fell by 4,200.
With growth for this year forecast at between 5 and 7 per cent, 'we expect a more moderate pace of employment growth', the ministry said.
Recruiters contacted agreed that the figure was excessive but said hiring would still be strong.
'With a three-year-low unemployment rate of 1.9 per cent in Singapore, we have a tighter labour market and competition for talent,' said Ms Linda Teo, head of business services for Manpower Inc, a recruitment firm.
'Forty-four per cent of employers we interviewed reported difficulties in filling jobs. Broadening the search outside Singapore is one of the strategies employers implement.'
Clients usually asked the firm to recruit from countries such as the Philippines and Malaysia, according to Ms Teo.
'The technology sector is doing fantastically well,' said Mr Zubin Shroff, a partner in executive search firm Braithwaite Steiner Pretty, which focuses on senior-level talent from its offices in Battery Road and Shenton Way. 'Typically, in this sector, we find that between 10 and 20 per cent of outside talent is from India.'
Mr Shroff, who places between 12 and 15 senior-level executives annually, was in the Indian technology hub of Gurgaon last week to interview candidates for two managing director-level positions in Singapore.
'Singapore has come to the fore as a technical support hub for the region,' he said. 'There was a time when Sydney was the expat location of choice for regional roles. Then you had Tokyo and Hong Kong. But Singapore has left everyone else far behind.'
It is this hub status that is driving a lot of recruitment outside Singapore, recruiters say.
Also, when top-level Indians are hired, many demand that the position be based in Singapore, where they feel most comfortable culturally and their families feel secure. All this gives the impression of a bigger Indian presence than is the case.
'Financial services are seeing strong demand and we are also seeing requests in the infrastructure space,' said Mr Atul Kumar, senior partner at search firm Amrop International. He added that another such sector is the automotive one.
Almost every recruiter says the first preference is always for local talent because it makes sense both from a market-knowledge point of view and costs to the company.
'Banking, shipping, oil and gas, engineering...they are all hiring,' said Ms Y.C. Jayanthi, the Bangalore-based head of recruitment firm Ad Astra Consultants, which has offices across Asia.
'After a difficult 2009, we saw strong hiring in the second half of last year. That trend is sustaining this year. As always, whether in Shanghai or Sydney, we look to locals before going outside, and that applies to Singapore, where there is good talent, particularly in banking services.'
I posted this because I thought it was funny how a piece of news from India riled up the people here especially since everyone been going on about unsubstantiated news from the Indian media. There is no link to the above article, its from the Straits Times which is our main newspaper in Singapore. Below is the link to the article leading to this ruckus. No trolling please just for amusements sake
Singapore likely to hire 60k Indian professionals in 2011 - The Economic Times