Definition And The Pros And Cons Of Globalization Management Essay

Globalisation describes the process by which regional economies, societies, and cultures have become integrated through a global network of political ideas through communication, transportation, trade and the rapid increase in the share of economic activity taking place across national boundaries. The term is most closely associated with the term economic globalization: the integration of national economies into the international economy through trade, foreign direct investment, capital flows, migration, the spread of technology, and military presence. The term can also refer to the transnational circulation of ideas, languages, or popular culture through acculturation- cultural exchange.

Singapore has evolved today as one of the flourishing nations of the world and it is regarded to be a global business nation as it is the home to about 7,000 multi- national companies. Singapore’s strategic location in South East Asia and infrastructure arrested the attention and encouraged many industrial companies and foreign investors to set-up businesses in Singapore, which started Singapore’s journey of globalisation. Singapore is a corruption free nation with high international standard machinery, well trained workers, a good world culture and an environment aptly suited for trading or business purpose.

Singapore, despite once being an island country, has managed to progress rapidly. In the last ten years of the twentieth-century, Singapore has transformed into a recognisable global city through the process of nation-state building. This led to an increase in the migration of people at all levels of the economy which enabled Singapore to sustain a competitive economy. Although Singapore’s economy managed to prosper, its people were weighed down with numerous issues like structural unemployment and the increasing income inequality. Hence, the Singapore government came up with ways of maintaining and managing a sustainable economic growth in response to the issues.

Social Effects of Globalisation in Singapore

The phenomenon of Globalization is comparable to a double-edged sword. In society, globalization has the power to aggravate or alleviate existing social issues.

Globalisation in Singapore has caused a lot of social problems. There is an increase in gamblers and the setting up of the two casinos in the past year has caused an increase in the number of problem gamblers. There is also an increase lost of national identity in youths as they are introduced to the outside world and start to move out of the country. It has also affected Singapore’s culture as foreigners bring in different cultures and people in Singapore, especially the youth have become more inclined towards the Western culture and may not appreciate the Asian culture as much anymore. As more people immigrate to other countries, there will be fewer Singaporeans to defend the country. When more foreigners immigrate to Singapore, it will further worsen the problem of ageing population in Singapore as well. Globalisation has also caused an increased gap in the income of the well off and not so well off people.

However, globalisation has also helped Singapore in many other different ways. Globalisation encourages Singaporeans to increase their knowledge and upgrade their skills to keep up with the ever changing world and the advancements of technology. The casinos have also improved Singapore’s economy as it attracts a lot of tourists. Foreigners bring in talents that can also improve the standard of the workforce in Singapore. Therefore, globalisation can bring both positive and negative effects to the society in Singapore.

Foreign Workforce in Singapore

Foreign workforce in Singapore refers to the non-cititzen workforce in Singapore.

As Singapore globalizes, more and more foreigners are coming into Singapore as there is a need for foreign workforce in Singapore so as to sustain the economy of Singapore and also for the benefits of improving our workforce as Singapore globalizes and becomes a global trading hub, there is a need to improve and sustain our workforce by having a foreign workforce.

Foreign workforce in Singapore is divided into two parts: the skilled workforce and the unskilled labour. Unskilled labour refers to unskilled workers who mainly work in the manufacturing, construction, and domestic services sectors. The majority of them come from countries such as India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, and Thailand, as part of bilateral agreements between Singapore and these countries. Skilled workforce refers to foreigners with professional qualifications or acceptable degrees working at the higher end of Singapore’s economy (Yeoh, 2007).

According to statistics from the Financial Times in 2010, it states that the foreign workforce make up about 34% of Singapore’s population, thus, proving that Singapore has a big foreign workforce.

Skilled workers and professionals accounted for 13.4% of Singapore’s total foreign workforce, while unskilled labourers accounted for 86.6% of Singapore’s total foreign workforce.

Research Methodology

We did our research using the internet, newspapers and several books that were found in the reference section of the National Library. We did our research and found information from online journal articles and forums through the web. We also found information from other sources like magazine reports as well.

Analysis of Research

Skilled Foreign Talent Workforce

Foreign talents in Singapore come to Singapore with their knowledge from their country and take up jobs that require special training for its satisfactory performance.  They usually have high qualifications and expertise in their job field. Their monthly income has already a minimum threshold of S$2500. Engineers, accountants, scientists and people from the research and development fields are examples of the skilled workforce foreign talents make up in Singapore. They mainly come from more developed countries like China, Hong Kong, Macau, South Korea and Taiwan. Specialized occupations that include neurosurgeons and doctors make up for the job expertise Singaporeans lack.

Unskilled Labour Workforce

Immigrants from countries like Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Myanmar, Philippines and Pakistan come to Singapore and fill up lowly skilled jobs that require practically no training or experience for its adequate performance. Singaporeans are unwilling to take up these lowly skilled jobs as they do not sound attractive, have low wages, long working hours and require large amounts of manual work. Such jobs include manufacturing, shipyard and shipbuilding, construction and services, as well as in private households as live in domestic workers. Foreigners constitute 45% of the manufacturing workforce, and 61% of the construction workforce. Unskilled labourers with recognized skills and qualifications earned about S$1800 monthly. Unskilled workers make up the majority of Singapore’s foreign workforce.

Comparison between Skilled and Unskilled Workforce

1. Safety


Skilled immigrants are highly valued as they are important for the country’s growth. They are treated with great respect and are taken care of when they come to Singapore. However, be it skilled or unskilled labor in Singapore, everyone is taken care of properly and the government keeps the place as safe as possible, keeping the crime rate as low as possible. The government maintains a stable and peaceful society and cares for the people’s safety, be it locals, skilled or unskilled immigrants.


Majority of the unskilled workforce in Singapore is not invited by the Singaporean government to work in Singapore. Rather, they come to Singapore on their own in search of jobs to support their families back in their homelands. Upon arriving in Singapore, they usually acquire jobs that do not require much skills or knowledge. Since these foreign workers do not specialize in any key areas, they hold less importance to Singapore’s economic growth, hence they are not as protected by the government as compared to the skilled workforce in Singapore. The population of unskilled workforce in Singapore, though, still lead generally safe lives in Singapore as a whole. Although there are still various risks involved in the type of work that these unskilled foreign workers do like construction works. Therefore, they are not as protected by the Singaporean government as the skilled foreign talents are.

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2. Housing


Skilled immigrants are given privileges unskilled immigrants do not have. Skilled immigrants with university degrees, professional enough to hold high ranks in the company, high qualifications, are able to bring in their family into the country as long as their family members are eligible for a dependant pass and they do not have to pay levies (Yeoh, 2007). The government also has policies for such foreigners to gain citizenship more easily as well.


In terms of housing, the unskilled workforce in Singapore do not get to live in comfortable houses, as do the skilled workforce in Singapore. In most cases, these unskilled foreign workers live in simple rooms, with not much in them. There is no need for luxurious accommodations, as most of them only stay for a short period of time to work in Singapore, and do not stay in Singapore permanently. However, in some extreme cases, a number of these unskilled foreign workers are crammed into a small apartment with poor living conditions. These workers have much to put up with in terms of their living conditions; hence not all of these workers get to live comfortably. Therefore, as compared to the population of skilled foreign workforce in Singapore, the population of unskilled foreign workforce does not live as comfortably, instead, they are subjected to worse living conditions.

3. Types of Jobs


Foreign talents in Singapore possess professional skills in their respective fields. Due to Singapore’s limited resources and low birth rates, there is a need for foreign talents to help the country keep up with the economy growth and its hopes for reaching out to the global economy. They fill up jobs that require skills which locals lack. With the lack of skills, Singapore will not be able develop and improve, which explains the need for foreign talent in Singapore’s society. In 2006, close to 13.4% of foreign workers are skilled. They take up high ranking jobs in marine industries, research and development, manufacturing and many more which require specific skills or knowledge.


The unskilled or semi-skilled foreign workforce in Singapore usually takes up jobs such as construction workers, maids, garbage men. This is because these jobs do not require prior or extra knowledge to complete, and these workers can be easily taught to do these jobs.

4. Healthcare


Healthcare in Singapore is generally well taken care of, be it for the skilled or unskilled workforce. Germs are able to spread and it would not be pleasant when diseases are spread around the country. Healthcare services are easily available in Singapore. However, there are no healthcare subsidies for foreign immigrants. This is due to the fact that the government wants to influence the locals to support and encourage the immigration policy.


In general, foreign workers that fall under the category of being unskilled or semi-skilled have health checks conducted by the Singaporean government every now and then, to ensure that these workers are not carrying any dangerous diseases that could potentially spread to other Singaporeans and cause a pandemic (Yeoh, 2007). By ensuring that these foreign workers are relatively healthy, the Singaporean government is also keeping Singaporeans safe, hence the state of health of the unskilled or semi-skilled workforce in Singapore is important to the government.

5. Country of Origin


Foreign talents in Singapore come from countries like United States of America, Britain, France, Japan, South Korea and Australia (Yeoh, 2007). Skilled foreigners can come to Singapore for various reasons. They come to Singapore and treat her as a stepping stone to advance towards better developing and more successful companies in other countries like the United States of America. However, there are also some skilled immigrants who come to Singapore because of the better living conditions. They are able to bring their family members to Singapore, where there is good education and healthcare. They are not as valued in their country as compared to in Singapore due to the fact that there are people who are better than them, so they come to Singapore to advance, where they will be valued greatly for their knowledge and skills.


Unskilled or semi-skilled foreign workers in Singapore usually come from countries such as China, Bangladesh, India, Philippines, and Indonesia. This is because the cost of labour from these countries is cheap, as compared to the cost of hiring skilled foreign talent. These workers are willing to work irregular hours under tough conditions to provide for their families back in their homelands. Workers that come from Bangladesh and India work as construction workers most of the time, and workers that come from Philippines and Indonesia work as maids most of the time.

6. Salaries


Skilled immigrants in Singapore monthly salary starts from about $2500 and can be more than $7000 (Yeoh, 2007). This is because they have valuable skills that are able to help companies in gaining profits. They have professional skills locals do not have and hence, they are able to be successful when they come to Singapore.


In comparison with the population of skilled foreign workforce in Singapore, the population of unskilled foreign workforce in Singapore has generally lower salaries, usually below $2500 (Yeoh, 2007). This is because these foreign workers do not bring to Singapore new skills or new knowledge that can help Singapore to grow economically, hence their labour is not as valuable as the skills and knowledge that foreign talents bring to Singapore. Also, these workers receive low pay because they are willing to accept these low pays, hence their pays often do not increase. Therefore, unskilled foreign workers have lower salaries than skilled foreign talents.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Foreign Workforce in Singapore:

Advantages of the Foreign Workforce in Singapore:

The foreign workforce is vital for Singapore’s economic growth and development. The foreign workforce in Singapore is divided into two segments, foreign talent and foreign workers. The Singaporean government has always stressed the importance of immigrant workers to Singapore’s economy and development.

With the presence of the foreign workforce in Singapore, there is exposure to external influences like cultural exchange. It is a unique feature of Singapore, and allows local Singaporeans to interact with the foreigners that come into Singapore from different parts of the world, with different backgrounds and cultures. This hence allows local Singaporeans to understand these foreigners more, which leads to an understanding of different cultures and backgrounds. With better relations between both sides, this will lead to more opportunities for business deals between foreigners and Singaporeans, as there will be respect of each side’s cultures and differences, hence leading to Singapore’s economic growth and development.

The interaction between the locals and foreigners also helps increase the awareness of locals of the different cultures. This allows the locals to practice racial tolerance in their daily lives which promotes racial harmony is Singapore’s multi-racial society.

Singapore aims to be a vibrant multi-cultural global trading hub working with people from a diversity of cultures and backgrounds. This factor will attract more foreigners to set up companies and businesses and invest in Singapore, which will provide more job opportunities for local Singaporeans.

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Singapore’s main resource has always been its people. However, as Singapore has a low birth rate and Singapore’s main resource of people has been depleting in the recent years, there is a need for more highly-skilled foreign workers to fill up the highly-skilled jobs. This will also help develop Singapore into the “talent capital” of the global economy.

Advantages of the Skilled Workforce in Singapore

The skilled workforce in Singapore, also known as foreign talents, refers to highly-skilled foreigners with professional qualifications or acceptable degrees working at the higher end of Singapore’s economy.

With so many foreign talents coming in to take up highly-skilled jobs with high wages, this is a source of competition for locals. Many locals feel that these foreign talents, who are more successful in their jobs, are snatching their jobs and source of income from them. With the highly-skilled foreign talents, there will hence be less job opportunities for local Singaporeans.

Based on research conducted by the Nanyang Technological University (NTU), three out of four jobs in the past five years went to foreigners. This will motivate local Singaporeans to perform better in their jobs, and pushes them to seek self-improvement, to match up to the standards of the highly-skilled foreign talents. This is caused by the sense of competition for jobs between them and the foreign talents, making them want to put in more hard work, so that their jobs will be secured. Local Singaporeans feel challenged by these highly-skilled workers, and this will lead to improvement and higher efficiency of jobs as they will strive harder to do better than the foreigners, thus leading to an improvement in Singapore’s economic growth and development too.

With Singapore’s economy prospering and growing, this will in turn attract more foreign branches and companies to invest in Singapore, as Singapore has a growing position as a regional and local global trading hub. Therefore, foreign talents, also known as the highly skilled workers, will lead to Singapore’s economic growth and development, as it actually pushes local Singaporeans to seek self-improvement. With more of these foreign talents coming to Singapore and taking up highly-skilled jobs, it helps in Singapore’s economic growth and development.

Given Singapore’s aspirations to become a major player in a globalized world, Singapore’s main economic strategy is based on being home to a highly-skilled workforce, which will be consisted of the highly-educated local Singaporeans, together with the foreign talents in Singapore. Therefore, the highly-skilled foreign workforce is vital to Singapore for economic growth and development.

The presence of foreign talents will lead to Singapore’s economic growth and development, as they bring new expertise and knowledge to Singapore, and help increase the productivity and efficiency of local Singaporeans by providing such new knowledge. This leads to Singaporeans learning and developing new skills, so that Singapore can improve and become more competitive in the global market, hence resulting in Singapore’s economic growth and development.

Advantages of the Unskilled Workforce in Singapore

The unskilled workforce in Singapore, also known as foreign workers, refer to semi-skilled or unskilled workers who mainly work in the manufacturing, construction, and domestic services sectors.

In Singapore, foreign workers are needed to take up jobs that local Singaporeans refuse to take up, due to the fact that these jobs are low-skilled jobs with low wages and irregular working hours, for example, construction workers, toilet cleaners and road sweepers. However, these jobs are required to maintain Singapore in its clean and orderly state, and to ensure that Singapore will continue to prosper, grow and develop. Therefore, it is important that there are people to fill up such job positions. As locals refuse to take up these jobs, foreign workers are needed to take them up. Only if Singapore is in its clean and orderly state, and has new buildings and developments, with a strong workforce, it can be seen as a potential market to invest in, and attract foreign companies to set up businesses in Singapore.

Furthermore, if foreign workers are available in handful here, more companies will be inclined to set up their factory bases in Singapore, as they can hire these foreign workers to work for them, with lower wages and longer working hours. This hence leads to Singapore’s economic growth.

Therefore, the foreign workforce is vital for Singapore’s economic growth and development.

Disadvantages of the Foreign Workforce in Singapore

A large majority of Singaporeans feel that foreigners are putting up stiff competition for jobs in Singapore, hence threatening the livelihoods of Singaporeans. Local Singaporeans feel that the foreign workforce in Singapore is snatching away jobs and their source of income from them.

Based on research conducted by the Nanyang Technological University (NTU), three out of four jobs in the past five years were taken up by the foreign workforce. With an increasing number of jobs being taken up by the foreign workforce in Singapore, the unemployed, especially sole breadwinners, will be unable to support their families, leading to more families being in a state of poverty without jobs. This leads to Singaporeans becoming increasingly worried and concerned over the issue of the foreign workforce taking over the available high-skilled jobs in Singapore, leaving them with only low-skilled jobs.

Additionally, due to a lack of social integration between local Singaporeans and foreigners, this will lead to discrimination of the foreign workforce by locals, with increasing dislikes between the two parties. Many Singaporeans already have preconceptions of foreign workers, as they do not have enough interaction and understanding of the foreign workers in Singapore, which stems from a lack of social integration, which might lead to future conflict.

A lack of social integration leads to negative generalisations made towards foreign workers, without a clear understanding of them. Such negative generalisations will lead to the debate between Singaporeans over the issue of the need of foreign workers in Singapore, as they bring in both advantages and disadvantages to Singapore, and such debates will make foreign workers unhappy too. It might cause tension between parties if such negative generalisations are continuously believed in, and this might lead to future conflicts as well.

Disadvantages of the Skilled Workforce in Singapore

With the skilled workforce, also known as foreign talents, in Singapore, local Singaporeans feel threatened that their source of livelihood is being taken away by people who are not even Singaporeans. This causes Singaporeans to have less jobs to choose from, leading to Singaporeans’ discontent towards the foreign highly skilled workers. This in turn causes a lack of social integration between the foreigners and local Singaporeans, and they will not be able to bond together as one Singapore. Hence, both parties will be unhappy with each other and the foreigners will not be able to integrate into Singapore’s society despite working in Singapore for many years. This might lead to future conflict and disagreement with Singaporeans about the influx of the foreign workforce in Singapore.

Therefore, foreign workforce will lead to disadvantages in Singapore too.

Locals’ views towards foreign workforce

Now, in Singapore, 34% of Singapore’s 4 million strong population are actually foreigners. Despite having been around in Singapore for decades, working hard to earn a living for their families back home, some locals are uncomfortable with them, some are prejudiced against them, while some have nothing against them. However, despite some local Singaporeans not approving of having foreign workforce in Singapore, and being prejudiced against the foreign workforce in Singapore, and not treating foreign workforce as equals, there are still people who approve of it and think that the foreign workforce is essential and vital to Singapore as be it skilled or unskilled, they contribute to Singapore economically and socially.

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Singaporeans are aware of the increase of foreign workforce in Singapore. There are both positive and negative views of these foreigners.

Singaporeans are aware that they are able to learn a lot of news things culturally as they communicate with these foreigners. This enables them to learn things they otherwise would not have learnt and lets them learn new things while working which will promote racial harmony in Singapore as the people become more culturally sensitive towards one another.

Singaporeans are also aware that foreign workers help create jobs for them as they come to Singapore with international companies which will be able to create more job opportunities for locals. Foreign workers also come up with more effective methods of working so productivity can be increased. This will help Singapore to not only advance, but also to advance even faster and keep up with the rest of this ever changing world. This enables the Singapore companies to learn from them and get valuable information from their expertise, thus being able to help Singapore to press forward and change when there is a need to.

In some cases, having a skilled workforce also helps the locals to work better. This is because everyone has a natural tendency to want to do better than others, therefore, the presence of foreigners will spur the Singaporeans to want to work better than their foreign counterparts and so improving the productivity of that company and Singapore as a whole.

Singaporeans are also glad that there are unskilled foreign workers to help to fill up jobs which are avoided by many Singaporeans, especially the youths, as they are picky about jobs and if the job does not provide an income they perceive as acceptable, then they will not take up the job. These jobs mostly do not require any prior training, and as such, have low salaries and odd working hours, resulting in these jobs being shunned by those finding a job and in the end, these jobs are left to the unskilled foreign workers to take up.

However, there is still disapproval of having foreigners in Singapore. Some Singaporeans are also unhappy about foreign workforce in Singapore as they see them as competition for jobs. They lose their jobs when they are not competent enough and when the company values foreign talent. When a certain industry consists of mostly foreign workers, locals also feel discouraged from taking up jobs in the sector as they are afraid of being the minority. They also start to think that foreign talents are full of themselves.

However, even then, lowly-educated locals are unhappy as foreigners also take away their jobs and more uneducated locals become unemployed. Locals also start to worry that they soon have to also compete with the foreigners for jobs, housing, medical care and other needs. They see the increase in foreign immigrants and the reason for increasing property prices. To make things worse, foreigners are getting similar benefits as locals as well.

Having unskilled foreign workers commonly in a certain neighborhood may also cause people who stay in that area to feel uncomfortable and insecure as there is the common perception that these foreign workers may be a criminal or may turn into one. This has caused many Singaporeans to feel unhappy when there is a dormitory for foreign workers set up in their area as they find them a nuisance as they hang around the residential areas.

Gradually, it has caused some people being prejudiced and discriminating against the foreign workforce in Singapore.

Foreign workforce’s views on locals

Foreign immigrants come to Singapore in search for better jobs and living conditions. However, some are welcomed while some are not treated well. Singaporeans have stereotypes for foreigners and they are prejudices against foreigners as most locals see them as bringing more problems into Singapore.

As a result, social integration of these foreigners into Singapore has not been very good and the foreign workforce here in Singapore do not have the chance to integrate into Singapore’s society and mix around due to these views that Singaporeans have of them. They have difficulty integrating into the society due to the language barrier, the difference in culture and lifestyles. Despite their efforts to integrate, they face cold and unfair treatment by Singaporeans. Despite all of this, they have to cope with surviving in a new foreign place and their work.

However, despite all of that, there are still people in Singapore who approve and think that the influx of foreign workforce into Singapore is essential and important for Singapore’s survival and economic growth if Singapore wants to become a regional and global trading hub. The unskilled labour will also take up the jobs that Singaporeans don’t want but are vital to keep Singapore in its clean and orderly state. Only with these jobs done will Singapore be progressing and maintaining its orderly state and this will all contribute to Singapore’s economic growth.  Thus, some Singaporeans welcome foreigners and treat them nicely.

Therefore, there are mixed views towards the foreign workforce in Singapore.


The many opportunities and resources being easily available has always been a strong advantage of globalization. However, the rapid speed at which globalization is occurring and its unintended consequences have proven to be detrimental to society to a certain extent and caused problems which requires government intervention to be resolved. In Singapore, Globalisation has resulted in issues like the significant influx of a huge number of foreign workforces in Singapore, which has both advantages and disadvantages towards Singapore. It is also evident that Singaporeans have discerning views towards this issue. Some feel they aid our economy nut others think they introduce competition and cause social problems.

Globalisation aids in building up a competitive and knowledgeable population. However, its dire consequences bring about a host of problems which, if spirals out of control, can outweigh this. The pressure is hence on the Singaporean government to strike a fine balance between achieving the full advantages of globalization and countering the unavoidable side-effects.

Limitations of Research

Not all sources are reliable and accurate and while we were doing our research, there were many biased reports found on the foreign workforce in Singapore especially in forums and there tend to be more emphasis on disadvantages compared to advantages as they were written by people with biased views towards the foreign workforce in Singapore. The sources conflict one another at times especially since the statistics as they are taken by different surveys with different people and it was hard to find statistics that were precise and accurate that could be trusted. Therefore, we were worried that not all the information and research we did were reliable and accurate. We also could not find suitable interviewees for firsthand accounts.

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