Friday, 5 June 2015

[Today] Current workforce policy could prove short-sighted

I read with unease the report “No U-turn on foreign manpower policy: Swee Say” (June 3). An educational system “geared towards producing workers with stellar qualifications” does not automatically translate into a quality, qualified workforce.
There is no doubt a need to grow local expertise.
Given the disparity in paper qualifications, one can hardly suggest that qualifications alone are enough to sustain a wholesome core of local talent for industry needs at the highest level and remain globally competitive at the same time.
The bell curve in the intellect of any society does not change. More populated countries are opening up, and their talent pools are equally bigger. Multinationals might, in time, be tempted to relocate to where manpower is not constantly a major obstacle.
Insular, overly nationalistic policies that hint strongly at protectionism today could lead to unhappy, unfavourable consequences in the long term.
The movement of trade and people is essential for competitiveness and, thus, growth and productivity, which the industry is focussed on while some quarters are calling for better work-life balance. Something has to give way.
There is not enough time in any one day. Asked to volunteer or do more for neighbourhoods, one finds the length of a day away from work diminishes fast.
We can mechanise, improve on timekeeping and develop more efficient ways of working smart, but there is also a limit to the pounding a body can withstand. Wellness and happiness is not quantifiable.
Is it not worth more if humans are less stressed, have proper lives with fewer ailments and enjoy the fruits of one’s success eventually?
It is sometimes better to accept reality and limitations than to push too hard, which could cause any given system to implode eventually. By far, prevention is better than cure.