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Workforce Strategic Planning For SMEs Seen Crucial For Singapore Government’s Foreign Labor Limit

As new changes are being implemented for Singapore’s employment passes, the Singapore has also announced new plans of reinforcing the changes by compelling SMEs to strengthen their arsenal to be able to keep their competitive edge.

Singapore’s Acting Labor Minister Tan Chuan Jin said that stricter rules with regards to Singapore work passes would be implemented on Q1 next year. “We thought of a way to slow down the pace of the tap that we think is sustainable,” he said. “The government sees this as a way to enable businesses to reflect on their growth, at a moderate and sustainable rate.”

The state has announced plans of revisiting its S Pass requirement scheme earlier this year as a consequence of the increase of S Pass holders in 2012. The statistics have in fact increased from 114,000 during H1 of 2011, to 128,000 as of Q3 2012.

On the other hand, employment pass holders won’t be affected for the said S Pass review. The number of Employment pass holders, which consist of professionals earning a salary worth SG $ 3,000 and above, didn’t increase during the past years. In fact, their numbers have declined from 175,400 during the first half of 2011 to 174,700 this year.

With strategic workforce planning in place, SMEs, which employ a huge chunk of the Singapore workforce (70%) and contribute to 50% of Singapore’s revenue, would be able to use its resources for leverage even without hiring a big number of foreign laborers. The challenge would also help SMEs remain competent without resulting to hiring entry level foreign workers.

SMEs may take a beating in the beginning but their everyday operations would benefit for the long term. Workforce planning would allow them to find ways on making their human resources budget flexible while keeping the company competitive.