The next time you hear the word “locals”, tell yourself it actually means “PRs and citizens”.
Similarly, “foreigners” means “foreigners who are non-PRs”.
Locals aren’t all Singapore citizens, and foreigners don’t include PRs. Confusing?
In yet another good example of the locals-foreigners confusion, the Manpower Ministry has proclaimed in its Labour Market 2009 report that “there were 1,053,500 foreigners forming 35.2% of total employment in December 2009″ (italics are mine).
By “foreigners”, the ministry is of course referring to “foreigners who are non-PRs”. The foreigners who are PRs are not included in the 1,053,500 count. Instead, they are lumped together with citizens in the “locals” group. It’s only on page 57 of the report that you get a clear and unambiguous statement on this:
“a local (also known as resident) employee is any Singapore citizen or Permanent Resident who is employed…” (emphasis mine).
So exactly how many non-citizens are there in our workforce? I don’t know.
But to get an idea of how many non-citizens are in our workforce – i.e. foreigners who are not citizens regardless of whether they are PRs or not – we have to do some calculations. (Heck, are they testing our maths?)
According to that MOM report, there are 1,053,500 non-PR foreigners and 1,936,500 citizens+PRs in our workforce.
Next, according to Singstat, there are 533,200 PRs. Let’s conservatively estimate that 50% of these PRs are active in our workforce. We shall cross-check* this ratio shortly.
This means: out of the 1,936,500 “locals”, 266,600 are PRs.
1,936,500 – 266,600 = 1,669,900
So, our workforce consists of 1,669,900 citizens, 266,600 PRs and 1,053,500 non-PR foreigners.
Add up the latter two and we have 1,320,100 non-citizens.
This is a hefty 44% of our workforce of 2.99 million. Ta-da.
44% of our workforce are non-citizens!
* Let’s cross-check the 50% employment estimate with that of citizens: out of the 3.2m Singapore citizens, 1.6699m are in the workforce as calculated above. This is already 52%. If anything, we should use a higher estimate for PRs. Don’t tell me PRs have more dependents than citizens – if they do, we should question why we are granting PR status to so many economically inactive foreigners.
Do you feel there are more than 44% non-citizens around you at work?