SINGAPORE - Companies like scrap metal firm Kim Hock Corporation prefer to hire Singaporeans, but end up hiring more foreigners instead.
It could be due to a poor qualification fit or different expectations of salary.
Or it could be that certain positions are just not popular with locals, said Ms Joyce Lim, the human resources administrative manager at Kim Hock Corporation.
"There's a certain stigma attached to some of these jobs, like welders and mechanics," she said.
"Even for positions like engineers, we receive twice as many applications from foreigners than Singaporeans."
The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) on Monday announced the Fair Consideration Framework (FCF).
This comes after feedback from Singaporeans during the MOM's Our Singapore Conversation.
The FCF aims to allay the concerns of Singaporeans who have shared anecdotes of companies favouring foreigners over locals for various reasons.
Explaining the context of the FCF, which will come in effect in August next year, Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin said: "What we are doing is to put in place measures to nudge employers to give Singaporeans, especially our young graduates and professionals, managers, and executives (PMEs), a fair chance at both job and development opportunities."
In a blog entry, Mr Tan acknowledged that the FCF is not a "silver bullet" to solve the problem.
Industry experts point out that the lack of legislation may mean that companies can still get away without giving much thought to hiring locals.
But at the end of the day, the whole idea of the FCF is "really to tell the employers not to be biased", said Mr Chan Chong Beng, the president of the Association of Small and Medium Enterprises.