45.4% of Workers in Singapore Are Foreigners


Two years ago, we estimated that 44% of Singapore’s workforce are non-citizens.

Well, we were wrong.

The actual figure is 45.4%, a little higher than our estimate!

Published in today’s Business Times are the numbers for the breakdown of our labour force as at June 2010:

Foreign Labour in Singapore

There were 1,712,600 Singaporeans (“citizens”), 334,700 permanent residents (“PRs”) and 1,088,600 foreigners in the labour force as at June 2010.

If we group PRs together with foreigners — rightfully so because PRs aren’t citizens if you ask me — there are a total of 1,423,300 non-citizens among the total workforce of 3,135,900 workers.

1423300 / 3135900 = 45.39%

So, non-citizen foreigners make up 45.4% of Singapore’s workforce.



About Author


  1. Pingback: 45.4% workers are foreigners in Singapore - Salary.sg Forums

  2. Your figures are 2 years old. I think it’s > 50% now. Just take MRT to see for yourself. Ask Lui Tuk Yew too, who takes it once in a blue moon for wayang.

    And when government talks about graciousness, I’m sure it’s aware that half the uncouth people here foreigners, all things equal. Though I think it’s likely to be more than half.

  3. money no enough on

    likely or not now, it is guarantee to more than half soon.

    for all the SG old foggies out there, pls read the reports these few days, it is time to widen the floodgates some more, cos money no enough !

  4. They should further break down the citizen number by country of birth, male / female, and if male whether served NS (if not, why not?)

  5. I have worked all over Europe, the America’s and some parts of East Asia, and honestly I have never experienced such negativity against foreigners as I do in Singapore. If you look at your unemployment rate and your country can not do without foreigners anymore! After all many of you have maids, they are foreigners, your countries infrastructure is being built by cheap foreigners because the Singapore work force does not want the low end jobs, hotels, shops, public trans. I am in a fortunate position where I hire and meet people and to be quite frank if the skills are comparable I always offer Singaporean’s interviews before foreigners despite being a foreigner myself, as I feel that it is my social responsibility to Singapore, yet I can honestly say that on average only 2 out of 10 Singaporean’s attend the interview, no call to cancel or any word as to why they can’t attend. With that level of professionalism and respect for potential employers what is an employer supposed to do?

    I must say I truly came to Singapore because of the people, the culture and environment, I took a drop in salary and changed my personal life style from living in a landed property to an apartment, all on the strength that money is not my motivator, personal well being and a friendly environment was paramount. I must say Singapore, the change that I have seen over the past six years is sad, I have personally been verbally abused by a Singaporean just because I am a foreigner, I have personally seen Singaporean children victimize foreign kids in the playground, and let’s be honest this will only get worse unless we all work together to do something about it!

    I really hope that those of you that consider yourselves to be educated or have common sense really start to realize that in the long run all this hatred, social cleansing and what could be considered in some corners of the world racism, will hurt yourselves and your children’s futures.

  6. Hi Jimbo,

    Don’t worry, the hateful comments are spewed forth by a relatively small group of online trolls who are screwed even if they aren’t in competition with foreign talents, due to their lack of ability/ ambition. they either don’t have a job or are stuck in a low-paying crappy job hence they have plenty of time to spew vitriolic xenophobia on the internet.

    Racist xenophobic scum like these exist everywhere, not just in Singapore.

    The majority of us Singaporeans still welcome our foreign friends and are happy that you have come to work and hopefully make your home here to make a truly cosmopolitan Singapore.

    Hope this reassures your fears.

  7. Pingback: Foreigner: Xenophobia will hurt you and your children’s future | Singapore Daily News

  8. Hi Jimbo

    I don’t think you’re seeing the bigger picture here in Singapore. And perhaps the rest of the world.

    All of us are now held hostage by international corporations/finance. They can move anywhere in the world and force global labour prices down. They are rich enough to exert political influence. Which they use to get away with financial fraud and engineering structural unemployment (via austerity), defeat labour unions, impoverish and disempower ordinary people, and pillage the public estate. (Think of what the Occupy movement is about.)

    Basically, all of us can be exploited in such a world. Some few of us will be “winners” (in a contorted sense), while the rest will suffer miserably as losers. Is this a good way to organise our societies? I don’t think so.

    Singaporeans are basically reacting to the symptoms of such phenomena. They’re really more worried about putting food on the table, roofs over their heads, sending their children to school and giving them a good future. What they’re actually upset about is the growing wealth divide, their declining standards of living, etc, which is partly to do with massive immigration, but also partly to do with surging inequality.

    Remember, when times were good, Singaporeans had no problems with foreigners.

  9. @Jimbo
    “Only 2 out of 10 Singaporean attend the interview”? I find that hard to believe without any back up information. You made a sweeping statement against Singaporeans and I can conclude that you are the one who is Xenophobic.

  10. I realise I come across as condoning the vitriol and hate against foreigners. I didn’t mean to.

    Singaporeans are overall rather an unsophisticated lot. Our education system, our rapid modernisation, has resulted in this. Many of us now in the workforce have parents who had little to no education. Our governments have de-emphasised thinking and questioning in schools. In fact, we open up places at the university and polytechnics based not on people’s aspirations, or even on industrial demand, but rather based on our government’s notion of how they want our industrial landscape to be.

    It is an embarrassing truth, but it is the truth. Singaporeans are kindof ugly in some ways. I wish more of us were nicer people too (but I don’t mean we ought to be doormats – and I respect (at least the spirit though not the method) that Singaporeans are fighting in the ways they know to reclaim ownership of THEIR home and country).

  11. it is not only the de-emphasis on thinking and questioning.

    Now in the ongoing national conversation, we are even told by the top, not to speak up, if we ourselves do not know of the solutions to issues that we raise ! What is the whole purpose of this conversation / discussion ??

  12. @Jimbo
    “Only 2 out of 10 Singaporean attend the interview”?
    Could it be because the pay is too low to support a family of 4 perhaps thats why singaporeans are less willing to take up the job?

  13. Hi Jimbo, how do you feel if your country has 50% foreigner in the workforce. And how will your countrymen feels?

    Second, if you are now >40, how will you feel if your government accepts to open flood gates to those younger than you without commitment to compete with you that have to support aging parents??

  14. Stop this talk about coperate and their scehem, its a smoke screen. The main problem we have in Singapore NOW is there are simply too many foreigners and the people in charge refuse to see the problems we are facing until they lost 9 sits in the parliment. To all FT that are in the middle income rangeand are reading this.
    1) Yes I admit that locals dont want the low paying jobs. If the people in charge of our country were to use their brians and heart in controling the type of jobs FT are applying for there will not be an uproar now that results in 9 seats lost. If you ask me if I am saying FT can only perform low paying jobs? Well I am sorry to say, a very realistic statement, beggers can’t be chooser.
    2)Allowing FT to get jobs from the middle income means snaching jobs from >60% of the locals. When there is competion the first thing human being seek to compete in is pricing. I have seen FT drastically undercutting the market rate of jobs in Singapore. So if FT keep coming in and taking jobs from the locals how will locals get jobs? Even when we do get jobs, are we being apid a fair price for it when tons of FT are undercutting the locals just to stay here in Singapore so that they can look for a better job? How many of you FT have done that? I have heard confession from tons of FT that does this trick all the time.
    3)Something that nobody mention in forums that talks about this subjects. We locals got to admit it. When compared we are locals can be as or even better in terms of professional, dadication / commitment, compitancy as the next FT that coems along BUT there is 1 THING that the FT have that we can nenver beat as a pink ic card holder be it male or female. FT DON’T HAVE to pay CPF, LOCALS DO!! Straight out front a FT that got offered 2.5k a month brings back 2.5k, we locals brings back only 2.0k. That is a clean 500 more cash every month. Pay rent?? I hear sombody say FT got to pay rent?? So what makes you think locals don’t. Yes before I forget there is also the possibility of FT turing into a PR and start paying CPF too!!! gasp… right at a discounted rate for the first 2 years too. When we locals start working we pay FULL RATE so a foreigner comes along work a few years here and got a discount on the CPF levy???Fair???Besides how many of the PR are going to stay here forever?? Sorry to break the news to you FT, we locals have no place to go you have. Also huge part of our money are stuck in this account that is UNTOUCHABLE aside from giving up our citizenship, that means leaving the places that we call home forever. Those money that is in our name in CPF board are UNTOUCHABLE even if we are starving to death. Oh but if you FT gives up your PR you still have a country that you are citizen of to go back to and bring along with you all your CPF savings.. GREAT deal being a FT turn PR.
    4) The infrastructure here in Singapore is under tremendouse stress and its breaking down faster than its supposed to. Why is this so? Oh and who paid for this infrastructure? Whose enjoying it now?
    5) Hey dont get me wrong, I sympathize the suitation in your country, unble to find a job in your own country and the like. I am in favor in giving some of the jobs to you guys. No issue. Except when FT start taking jobs that we locals want. I am charitable but not to the extend of hurting myself to help others. We local Singaporeans are human, not saint, son of god, or buddha. Reverse the suitation back to you guys from a foreign land, will you guys be happy if we come in and take your jobs? stress out your whole infrastructure and leave in X years time leaving you guys to clean up the mess in your place that we just partied in?
    6) Yes we need foreigner but in specific sectors only not running all over the country.

Leave A Reply