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Question about definition of PMET

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HogHollow
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Question about definition of PMET

Post by HogHollow » Mon, 22 Jul 2019 11:40 pm

Hi everyone,

This is my first post to this forum, and I'm considering making a move to Singapore from Texas with my wife.

I've been reading about the recent weakening economy, and frequently see that "PMETs" are the most vulnerable positions to be affected by layoffs.

This leaves me a little befuddled, since Professionals Managers Executives Technician positions are usually the more secure positions here in America. And also, this PMET labor group seems to encompass pretty much all the college graduate-level positions.

Am I missing something here, or is it really that the labor market in Singapore somehow does not value employees with management/executive positions? That seems odd to me, since all it leaves are people in the blue collar positions?

I'm a C-suite executive at an industrial automation manufacturer, and for the first time, I'm a little concerned about my job hunting prospects! :shock:

Any insights on this matter will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.

Gerry

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Strong Eagle
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Re: Question about definition of PMET

Post by Strong Eagle » Tue, 23 Jul 2019 1:39 am

HogHollow wrote:
Mon, 22 Jul 2019 11:40 pm
Hi everyone,

This is my first post to this forum, and I'm considering making a move to Singapore from Texas with my wife.

I've been reading about the recent weakening economy, and frequently see that "PMETs" are the most vulnerable positions to be affected by layoffs.

This leaves me a little befuddled, since Professionals Managers Executives Technician positions are usually the more secure positions here in America. And also, this PMET labor group seems to encompass pretty much all the college graduate-level positions.

Am I missing something here, or is it really that the labor market in Singapore somehow does not value employees with management/executive positions? That seems odd to me, since all it leaves are people in the blue collar positions?

I'm a C-suite executive at an industrial automation manufacturer, and for the first time, I'm a little concerned about my job hunting prospects! :shock:

Any insights on this matter will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.

Gerry
If you haven't done so already, you should read my posts about expats finding jobs in Singapore. In essence, you won't unless you are brought in by your existing company or you have a skill that cannot be found in Singapore. So maybe C suite execs get treated a bit different but that's not my experience. In fact, my experience with MNC's is that the director and C level positions are part of the rotation for fast track execs in the company... some time in Asia, some time in South America... maybe a post somewhere in EMEA, as you climb the ladder.

PMET's are not what you might think they are in Singapore. Singaporeans live in a very much rote society that begins with school. Getting along is key. Not rocking the boat is key. Aggressive instincts and creative solutions are "rocking the boat". So, you get managers who think that "managing" means handing problems off to someone else and not taking responsibility for anything. You get "technicians" who draw a box around their duties and refuse to take on any other challenge because they might make a mistake. You get "executives" whose title supports a SGD 1500 per month job cold calling expats to sell them investments.

I realize this is painted with a bit of a broadbrush and yet you will find many that agree with me. Anecdotally, I know a wonderful Singaporean Chinese woman who holds a director level position in a major MNC. They call her the dragon lady because she gets so frustrated with the minions under her who exhibit this kind of behavior that she'd like to toss them out of the 28th story windows, if only the windows would open. So, obviously, there are exceptions to this rule and there are many good PMET's in Singapore.

The government wants to college educate the populace, a noble goal. And pressure is put upon the MNC's and larger companies to hire these PMET's. Some are really good. So many others have a sense of entitlement... I'm educated, pay me, why do I need to do anything? Many are expendable, and in a downturn, they are the first to go.

I will offer you one more bit of anecdotal evidence as to why it's so easy to dump PMET's, especially the junior variety. I was handed the job of rescuing a failing managed services implementation. There were 2300 past due IT support tickets, it took two weeks to get a PC installed for new employees, Tier 2 support was non-existent, and hundreds of tickets were 90 to 180 days past due. The truly ugly email from the user community provided insight into how crappy the service was.

And you know what? When it came time for annual evaluations, the eight person team I inherited who was responsible for this mess, all gave themselves 8 out of 10 points on the self assessment scales for good work performed. This is the disconnect that makes PMET's expendable.

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Re: Question about definition of PMET

Post by HogHollow » Sun, 28 Jul 2019 10:56 pm

Thanks for sharing the insights about PMETs in Singapore. It definitely means something completely different from how we would see it in America. I guess the Singaporean PMET is equivalent to a low level bureaucrat here, where the "good enough for government work" mindset is prevalent. I have heard about title inflation in Singapore, where it seems everyone has a "director" title. I know a "senior VP" at a bank who only has 4 direct reports!

I forgot to add that my company has offered me a position at the Singaporean branch, hence the thoughts about moving. After reading your comments, however, I'm having concerns about whether it's going to be a challenge trying to manage employees with this particular PMET mindset. I'll have to touch base with my colleagues who have previously been in the Singapore branch to get their take too.

I still find it odd that the Singaporean Labor Dept wasn't able to come up with a more accurate name for this group other than "PMET", since it's pretty misleading. :)

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Re: Question about definition of PMET

Post by Strong Eagle » Sun, 28 Jul 2019 11:52 pm

If your company is moving you over and the salary is appropriate, the housing and school allowances sufficient, I'd jump on it. I don't think you'd ever regret the experience. Sure, things are different, and as I said, I painted with a broad brush. Your management style will need to be different, the challenges will be different, and I've managed some very good tech teams in the region.

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