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Uproar Over Singapore Recruitment Advertisement

By now, most of us in Singapore’s recruitment industry would have heard about the recent case of a foreign firm in Singapore that explicitly stated in its job advertisement a preference for hiring individuals of a particular nationality.

This case caused much furore in Singapore’s recruitment landscape so much so that the authorities stepped in and reportedly met with the firm’s senior management to speak about the incident.

Personally, I find the whole episode and ensuing uproar rather redundant.

For a start, foreign firms operating in Singapore should observe the local climate. As the saying goes: “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” They should thus be sensitive and tactful in observing the cultural norms within the country so as to not step on people’s toes.

Having said that, the firm need not spell out that they wish to hire its own countrymen in the first place. Because if the firm is a well-known brand name, individuals from their home countries would be familiar with the company’s name and there would be a natural propensity for such nationalities to gravitate towards working for the organisation in question.

Additionally, there is already a fixed foreign worker quota imposed on every company operating in Singapore. This is regulated by the Ministry of Manpower so there is no way that the company can have 100% of its workforce comprised of that particular nationality. In view of this, it is somewhat redundant for Singaporeans to be up in arms over this matter.

At the end of the day, I feel it is the prerogative of the organisation whether they want to hire a specific nationality. After all, the local/foreign composition of the workforce will be naturally adjusted by the prevailing labour laws in effect.