European firms seek dialogue with Govt

FOREIGN firms are finding it tough to hire not just low-skilled workers from abroad, but also fresh graduates on training contracts, as well as skilled workers on SPasses and Employment Passes.

Their concerns over the tightening of the foreign worker supply has caused one group to get organised, so as to better engage the Government on this matter.

The European Chamber of Commerce in Singapore has set up a sub-committee looking specifically at manpower issues.

Its executive director Matteo Vezzosi said: "We want to start a dialogue with the Government to understand its mid- to long-term strategy."

The pool of foreign manpower here is still growing but at a slower pace after the clampdown, and the Government has said that it will continue to restrict supply.

The European Chamber's sub-committee consists of more than 30 representatives of European companies based here.

It is headed by Mr Alexandre Gentot, the vice-president of human resources in Asia for security firm Gemalto.

The members come from a wide range of industries, such as manufacturing, information and communications technology, and financial services, and include European business schools, MrVezzosi said.

There are plans to survey the members by the end of the year, to "find out what the real problems of the companies are", Mr Vezzosi added.

"I think it is partly the uncertainty of the global economy, but also the uncertainty over manpower," he said.

Beyond the current foreign labour issues, the committee will also exchange ideas on talent development and retention.

ROBIN CHAN


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