What are some of the Labour Issues in Singapore?

3 min read|Last Updated: November 21, 2022|

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Labour issues are common, even for an economic powerhouse and corporate hub like Singapore, who is a triple-A rated economy and a good place to register and start a business. Some of the labour issues that Singapore faces are listed below.

Is There Labour Shortage in Singapore?

One of the issues is there is a shortage of labour in Singapore. There are 3 key reasons why this is so, namely:

  • Rapidly aging population

    The average age of the Singapore population has been increasing. This means that there will be fewer youths who will enter the workforce.

  • Tighter regulations of foreign workers

    Stricter measures were implemented to regulate the entry of foreign workers. As such, it became more difficult for foreign workers to receive an S Pass or Work Permit. The government also introduced a law that requires all businesses in Singapore to prioritise locals when hiring.

  • Mismatch of skills

    The skills most sought by the job market are mostly not the most common, leading to a gap between employers and prospective employees. Upskilling programmes have been initiated to bridge this gap.

To tackle the labour shortage in Singapore, the government has steadily continued to attract top talents globally. One of the ways they are doing so is through the latest introduction of the Singapore Overseas Networks & Expertise (ONE) Pass.

Instead of opening the flood gates to foreign professionals, they are carefully selecting the right candidates to supplement the local work force.

Gender Inequality

As like most countries, gender inequality remains a key issue in Singapore. The average woman who works in Singapore full-time earns just 87.5% of what her male counterparts earns. This is more common in the following industries:

  • Manufacturing
  • Accommodation
  • Healthcare
  • Social services
  • Information & Communications
  • Food services

If you’re interested in starting a business in these industries, you should know that doing so requires a business license. Reach out to us to get your business license in Singapore, along with other services like corporate secretarytaxation, and more!

Wan Yi

Such gender inequality encourages local women to go abroad to work and achieve their career goals.

Lack of Social Support for Foreigners

Many foreigners working in Singapore do not have high levels of social support and they are unsure of their rights. Some of the issues that they may face are:

  • Unjust treatment from employees
  • Unsafe working conditions

However, the government and authorities are doing their best to resolve these situations. The lack of social support for foreigners are usually for those who are on Work Permits such as construction workers. These group of individuals are less likely to speak out to shed light on their problems.

For foreigners who are on S Pass or Employment Pass, it is important that you have a binding contract with your employer to ensure that you are well protected. The Singapore Employment Act only covers workers who are earning a salary of less than S$2,600.

This means that the Act does not cover and protect you if you are earning above the benchmark. That’s why understanding your rights and employee benefits stated in your employment contract is key.

Despite these issues, Singapore is still a great place to work as it boasts a thriving economy.

If you are a foreigner who would like to work in Singapore, we can assist you in getting your employment pass and necessary documents! Chat with us to find out more.


Come to our office or get in touch virtually for a consultation on your company incorporation with employment pass, and other corporate services.


Can I run an online business without incorporating in Singapore?2020-11-20T11:59:02+08:00

Nope, you must register a company to run your online business. 

As a foreigner, can I be the shareholder of the company?2020-11-20T11:58:47+08:00

Yes, you can. 

Is it mandatory to have a Singaporean/ PR to incorporate a company in Singapore?2020-11-20T11:58:34+08:00

Yes, to incorporate a company in Singapore, you need at least one local resident. As a foreigner, you can appoint a nominee director or get an employment pass. 

What are the popular businesses in Singapore?2020-11-20T11:54:51+08:00

Some of the popular businesses in Singapore are laundry, online marketing, e-commerce, financial services, cleaning service, content writing and consulting. 

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