News and views from an unique perspective

A personal experience: How a jobless PMET managed to start his own business

Posted by temasektimes on June 4, 2012

I graduated with an economics degree 3 years ago from SIM, and i took 6 months sending out resumes and earned zero interview. It’s not just sending out resumes blindly, but in the course of the 6 months, I’ve been actively refining on my resume and gathering opinions and feedbacks from friends so as to ensure that my resume is presentable. But yet, I didn’t manage to secure a single interview.

It’s not that I’ve been choosy towards the type of position that are available, in fact I applied for almost all the positions available related to my studies, and many of which only require diploma level.

In the end, fortunately, opportunity struck and I ended my search for a job — I ended up starting up my own business. After running my own business for the past 3 years, then I realized what’s been going on in the job market.

Everytime I post a job ad, I will receive 70-80% of applicants from foreigners. And out of which, more than half are pinoys and the rest a mixture of PRCs and Malaysians.

I received a number of impressive resumes from locals, but as an SME employer, employment cost is highly sensitive to us. Hence, by the fact that majority of the applicants are willing to accept the job at a much lower wage, the seemingly ‘fair’ wage expectations of the local applicants would by contrast be a lot more expensive.

Yes, we don’t have to contribute levy, but to us it’s entirely trivial. Whether is it levy or CPF contribution, it’s the same. It’s a cost for our firm. We might end up paying lesser if we get a foreigner if his wage expectation is so much lower than the local!

As long as our quota permits, naturally we will go for foreigners. Few reasons: 1) it’s really alot more cheaper. Paying a PRC $800, after deducting his shared room rental of $200, their take home pay is easily RMB3,000. But Paying a Singaporean SGD1,000, he might not even able to survive (hello, a newly launched 3 room HDB flat in matured estate already cost you $1.3k in installment) 2) you don’t have to worry about RT, IPPT and ICT commitments.

We don’t have to worry who is going to stand in for the chap’s duty when he’s called back for NS commitments. 3) they’ve got no family commitment here, so you get them to work OT, come back during weekend, there’ll be a lower chance that they’ll come up with all sorts of excuses.

With so many perks and benefits of employing foreigners, which employer in their right mind would employ a local? But in the end, I still manage to maintain a team consists of all local employees, perhaps it’s my stereotype towards the integrity of foreigners, so I don’t mind paying more for someone with better integrity and trustworthiness.


*The above was first posted as a comment on Facebook


22 Responses to “A personal experience: How a jobless PMET managed to start his own business”

  1. Tumbs Up said

    Thumbs up 4 U

  2. Tumbs Up said

    Boo :-(:) Thumbs up 4 U

  3. 1st World Nation - 3rd World Governance said

    at first it might seem to be the fault of these bosses of our SMEs, but who are the ones who opened our floodgates in the 1st place? IT’s understandable that bosses always want to cut cost, but shouldn’t the government protect the interests of Singaporeans?

    • sadsingaporean said

      Yup. Govt should give more perks to companies to employ singaporeans. Imagine all singaporeans are out of job and asking for help /money from govt and the social unrest that follows? Till then those money govt earned by introducing more FT won’t even be enough to feed the ppl and cover the maintenace. So what if singapore got cheap FT? When singaporeans really had enough and brought to the streets since they got nothing to lose. Then investors will be gone, FTs will all pack their back and go home. Singapore will return back to the old 3rd world fishing village?! Lol.I really hope govt understands that singaporean they are their real assert. Like I was taught in school that, we’ve got no natural resources but the ppl. So even the ppl you wanna import then what do we have in the end?

      • aloysius12 said

        Yes, I visualize this reality coming soon. If majority of us are without employment what would it cost us to go to the “street”? When that come to pass investors would not hesistate to go elsewere notwithstanding ugly scenes with fts, incidences of crimes on the rise just for survival.
        The authorities should allocate perks to SMEs rather be fence-sitters.

        crimes on the rises

  4. i say what i think only... said

    thumbs up to this employer. i don’t really blame SME employers who should be profit driven. the gov gave them the opportunity and access to so much cheap labor, then when u are used to it, then suddenly say reduction of quota (but not epass holders). they are hit as well. it is just like letting u drive a car for 5yrs then suddenly ask u to take a bus, can u cope with it?

    the million zillion dollar question is: SME are profit driven because they do a business for profit, why is the government profit driven as well? their every decision lies the destiny of millions of their people yet they do not seem to care., 1 yr since election and how many will say their lives have turned for the better? are they still lseeping when they say things are better but they need more time. we are intolerant against the very foreigners whom we need so much for us. we are short-sighted etc. enough of reprimand, u do not scold ur bosses, thinking u are 1

  5. Proud for Boo said

    Kudos to Mr Boo….
    Proud of you, at least Singaporean still have some hope with you around. Although there isn’t much you could do, what we need to do now is to spread the news around for others (Employers) to follow you foot steps.

  6. Hammer said

    We are all a 3rd world people living in a 1st world Lee Pte LTD-JBJ

  7. Singaporean said

    If only all local employers think in the same
    vein. If the locals cannot get a decent job, social upheaval can be expected to happen anytime.
    Witness the Arab Spring’s uprising and the outcome in Eygpt, Yemen, Libya. All caused by extreme proverty and sense of hopeless.

  8. Jack said

    good for you

  9. spotlessleopard said

    The blame lies squarely at the feet of the PAP …allowing for this problem to fester to a point that Singaporeans do not get the jobs….and Foreginers are being squeezed by Agents (foreign and local)…consequently Foreigners are also bullied……PAP has to answer to the thousands of Young Singaporeans who graduate every year and not being employed…
    If PAP persist in the reckless policy…they will be VOTED out in GE2016

  10. Cheers said

    3 cheers for you for supporting our own locals! 🙂

  11. Steve Lee said

    It’s not your fault. I respect your honesty and you have to work within the parameters set by those in power. However, it’s such a sad story that it makes me feel like crying for all the Singaporeans who are left by the wayside. We’re not talking about lazy, good for nothing people who refuse to lift a finger to help themselves but Singaporeans disadvantaged by circumstances largely beyond their control. This is terrible.

  12. kinman said

    True,it isall about saving costs and profit but I dont mind foreigners working in our economy in positions with skills which Singaporeans lack. But the current situation is that our ‘A’levels and polytechnic graduates are not employed in preference to cheap foreign workers. I have seen with my own eyes middle executive positions given to pinoys because they are cheaper. Guys we are all being replaced! eventually singaporeans will have to go overseas to find work and our country will be completely dominated by foreigners.

  13. Retrenched, jobless PMET said

    The problem is deeper than you think. It’s not simply hiring foreigners over locals for open positions, but retrenching/firing locals and replacing them with foreigners!

    You hear stories everyday about companies hiring one local PMET in his 20s or 30s to do the jobs of 2 or more. After this PMET has streamlined the process, he gets retrenched and replaced with a cheaper foreigner who one needs to follow these processes already in place!

    By then this local guy will be in his 40s and unhirable by local standards these days!

    Yet the f**king PAP sit in their ivory towers passing damaging policies and tell us to be more productive!?!?

    What’s going to happen to Singapore in the long run when all these foreigners who are gaining experience at the expense of locals who are jobless finally leave?

    What’s going to happen to our workforce who are losing out on all these work experience? Then the PAP are going to use that for more propaganda saying we still need foreigners cause locals aren’t experienced!?!?!?

    These are the policies set by “brilliant”, “far sighted” people who deserve multi-million dollar salaries!?!?!?

  14. mooos said

    It’s funny cause it contradicts the fact that there’s 2% unemployment rate in Singapore (amongst the foreigners who came here I assume!)

    • daming said

      Sometimes i wonder, whether did the govt get their statistic by calculating total resident workforce in Singapore or Singaporean workforce? Cos looking at the past 10 years, it’s obvious that the % unemployment rate is going to reduce because our population number jumped from 3mil(80% locals) to 5+mil(almost 50% foreigners). And of those foreigners, large number of them comes in with S pass and a slot for a job. They don’t come in looking for a job, instead they came here because they were employed.. So if there are 100 000 unemployed Singaporeans in a 3mil population, which is 3.33%, it would become 2% when there’s 5mil population, while the numbers doesn’t change..

  15. Kc Boo said

    Guys, actually I’m not as great. The reason why I kept my team 100% locals is cos I’ve came across many PRCs and pinoys who are here not only to compete for jobs with us, but for business too. I came across one such PRC who used to work in an employment agency for years, until one fine day he learnt the ropes, got his PR, and off he go. He went out and set up his own employment agency, and with him were not only all the contacts and clientele of his old employer, but also, more than half of his colleague went off with him! These people are shrewd, cunning and ruthless. So, I still don’t have the gut to employ foreigners yet =X

    Mooos, actually you’re right. 2% is an illusion. 2% of 5Million = 100k. How many of these 2% are really ‘natives’? Remember, we used to have only 3million population, as many as the cows in New Zealand. If Singapore population remains at 3Million, 100k = 3.33%. Moreover, how fair is the MOM’s methods in consolidating these data? Underemployment is not considered here. Retirement? How is retirement defined?

  16. Creative-accountant said

    I too was a jobless grad aft i grad with a degree in 2006..n seriously it doesnt make any gd impression to be jobless for a long period of time, interviewers might start judging you for being incapable or there must be smth wrong with u. The increase of foreign talent here in recent yrs is not making any easier for the younger generation who have no job experience. I stand in the train that day, ard me were a young family of 5 pinoys incl the grandma, 5PRCs, and some locals..this is definitely a local issue to be addressed. Another issue, the COE is so extremely high.. Since there are so many rich foreigners n sg lack land size n roads..dun u think its a great idea to allow foreigners to buy cars only if they pay extra levy since they do not need to contribute cpf and buy a car only if they can afford at least 150k range cars..this keeps the road with lesser foreigners owning cars, locals will pay lesser, foreigners pay more and at the same time This can help foreigners remember they are the 2nd class without sure the rich foreigners will enjoy the flash of their ego with their high end overpriced cars.

  17. It has been moons that this supposed graduate is looking for a job, I am very doubtful he is not able to secure a job. With help and assistance from Gilbert Goh which he says he is helping jobless citizens and if not choosy I am very sure he will land himself with a lower grade job. Unless he is waiting and looking for sympathy.

  18. Hammer said

    Pap does not care if they will be voted out 2016 cos their wallets have already swelled beyond recognition.

    • Only stupid people keep voting in traitors said

      Definitely so, but it’ll stop them from draining our wallets, breaking our rice bowls and affecting our abilities to provide for our own families to keep bloating their own wallets.

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