Q17: On how to retain Singaporeans in Singapore (SUSS Ministerial Forum 2019)

Q17: On how to retain Singaporeans in Singapore (SUSS Ministerial Forum 2019)


I think first there must be an economy where there are jobs. If there are no jobs, I can tell you to stay here but you will be off. There are many countries where they train the graduates and the graduates say, “What can I do if I stay here, I am earning $200. If I go overseas, even to be a manual worker, I may earn three or four times that.” And they will be gone. So we have to make sure that the opportunities are here and the economy is vibrant and people have jobs which are fulfilling, not just the pay, but also the challenges, the kind of things you are doing, whether it is science, tech, professional work, auditing, and you have to be able to have that kind of an economy. Secondly, we must also understand that it is good for us to have our young people go out, work overseas in the region or even in the West for some time, and after some time, come back to Singapore. Maybe when you have kids, it is good to come back because your parents are here and grandparents are very useful for looking after kids. Having seen the world, you will understand better the opportunities or challenges, and how Singapore is special, and what you can do in Singapore. So I think to have a diaspora of people overseas is not a bad thing. We have about 200,000 Singaporeans overseas, I think, it’s a number off the top of my head. Which is not a small number, it is part of our family all around the world – you go to China, they’re there, you go to India, they’re there. You go to US, Europe or Australia, they are there. You go to Africa, you will find Singaporeans in very out of the way places, not so many but they are there too. I think I encourage you to go see the world but remember, come back to Singapore one day.

Danny Hutson

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