Starting 1 October 2020, employment agencies (EAs) will have to comply with new licence conditions when undertaking recruitment work. At the same time, MOM will partner with progressive EAs to help Singaporeans secure jobs and traineeships under the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package.

To make clear the obligations of EAs to uphold fair hiring, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) will introduce new licence conditions for EAs. The new licence conditions will require the nearly 3,900 EAs licensed by MOM to comply with the fair recruitment requirements set out in the Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices (TGFEP) when recruiting on behalf of their clients. 

Josephine Teo, Minister for Manpower, said in a LinkedIn article: "Today, about three in 10 vacant positions in Singapore are filled by employment agencies (EAs). There are about 3,900 licensed EAs. Most help to uphold fair hiring but every year, we still get about 20 complaints. Clearly, there’s scope to bring EAs on board to uphold fair hiring."

In addition to helping their clients fulfil job advertising requirements, EAs must also:

  • Brief their clients on the fair recruitment requirements in the TGFEP;
  • Make reasonable efforts to attract Singaporeans for vacancies that they are trying to fill; and
  • Consider all candidates based on merit.

EAs must not in any way abet discriminatory hiring by their clients, for example, by withholding applications on the basis of age, race, nationality, gender and disability. EAs must also turn down requests or instructions from clients to carry out discriminatory hiring.

EAs that fail to comply with licence conditions may be issued with demerit points, have their licence suspended or revoked, or face prosecution. 

Minister Teo added: "Fairness is a value we can all relate to. Fight unfair hiring like we would Covid-19. Stop it from spreading and “quarantine” errant employers and intermediaries by putting them out of circulation."

Progressive EAs to be recognised with New Human Capital Partnership Mark for Employment Agencies

In addition, as an expansion of the tripartite HCP Programme, MOM will introduce a new Human Capital Partnership (HCP) Mark for EAs to recognise progressive EAs that have demonstrated strong commitment to fair recruitment practices and helped employers to strengthen their Singaporean core.

The HCP Mark for EAs, will allow employers to identify the best-in-class EAs that can help them grow their businesses and stay competitive by developing a strong local talent pipeline.

MOM is in the process of shortlisting EAs that qualify for the HCP Mark for EAs, and expects to admit the first group of such EAs to the HCP Programme later this year.

Selected EAs with a track record of fair hiring to be appointed as SGUnited Jobs and Skills Placement Partners

MOM will also appoint selected EAs that had demonstrated the ability to hire fairly as Placement Partners to help local jobseekers secure jobs and traineeships under the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package.

Through this initiative, MOM will provide funding support to Placement Partners to place mature jobseekers, long-term unemployed jobseekers or persons with disabilities into jobs and traineeships.

This initiative aims to create additional pathways for more vulnerable local jobseekers to access professional career matching services and opportunities suited to their skills and aspirations. More details will be announced at a later date.

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