“We are trying to make this framework a very highly differentiated system, a set of criteria which allow us to titrate, to be able to right-size, right-site and continuously uplift our level of competitiveness,” said Dr Tan.
“We are also cognisant of the fact that with the multiple disruptions … the accelerated change and transformation happening around the world, I think it behoves us to now move into a system where every EP holder coming in … will have to pull his weight in working, complementing our local (workers), at the same time supporting and driving our economy.”
S$20,000 SALARY CEILING
Mr Desmond Choo (PAP-Tampines) asked the Manpower Minister why COMPASS only applies to workers with monthly salaries below S$20,000.
Dr Tan said that MOM took a “practical approach” on this, as EP holders at that pay range are typically senior management or specialists at the top of their fields.
“They have gone through even more selective hiring processes to be appointed in the company, since these roles typically require very specific capabilities or skill sets,” he said.
“Regardless of these exemptions, firms are expected to provide to practise fair hiring.”
Like all of the qualifying salaries, the S$20,000 exemption bar will be reviewed from time to time, he added.
Mr Patrick Tay (PAP-Pioneer) wanted to know what constitutes a “top-tier institution” under the “qualifications” criterion and if the qualification needs to be relevant to the job.
Dr Tan said that the list of the top-tier universities will be available on the MOM website, and they do not just include universities, but also technical institutes, polytechnics and some vocational institutes.
Mr Gerald Giam (WP-Aljunied) wanted to know if the minister expects the foreign-local talent mix to remain largely unchanged moving forward, in addition to other clarifications.
Dr Tan said that COMPASS has taken into consideration many months of data analytics in the hiring patterns of firms based on diversity, educational qualification and also the concentration of PMETs within the firm to come up with the framework.
“The fact that the vast majority of the companies actually pass when we put them through this COMPASS framework … is actually a testimony to the fact that many companies in the past many years have actually been very progressive, very responsive and very nimble to their needs of our economy,” he added.