Ten companies have been banned from hiring new foreign workers for six months after placing discriminatory job advertisements.
The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said yesterday that the 10, which included five employment agencies, were taken to task after they could not give valid justifications for the ads asking for specific nationalities, gender or ages.
The companies, which have removed the offending portions from their ads and put up online apologies for 30 days, include PSC Biotech, Winshire Education Centre, Dr Ci:Labo, Modern Pak and Global Citizen Forum.
Cosmetics firm Dr Ci:Labo, for instance, had wanted a Japanese or Singaporean, aged 30 to 50, for the position of general manager.
Youbook, Accredit HR Consultancy, Stafflink Services, Sky Asia Consulting and Zingmi were also punished. MOM found that the employment firms had misinterpreted their clients' requirements.
Sky Asia, for example, stated that female Chinese were preferred to fill administration coordinator and sales support roles.
Meanwhile, Accredit HR Consultancy posted an ad for an assistant store manager, and it indicated: "Filipinos welcomed".
A ministry spokesman told The Straits Times that MOM will continue to educate employment agencies, which play an important role in advising clients on how to comply with fair employment guidelines.
Fair employment watchdog Tripartite Alliance for Fair Employment Practices said that in June, it organised a briefing, with MOM, for more than 300 employment agencies.
This is the second time this year that companies have been hauled up for placing discriminatory ads.
In March, Expedia Inc and Incofood International had to make online apologies.
The ministry said employers looking for specific workers should ensure that the attributes asked for should be a requirement for the job, and to make that clear in the ad.
MOM has been getting tougher against discriminatory hiring practices after Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin pledged during the Budget debate in March to stop companies from favouring foreigners over Singaporeans.
On Monday, the ministry also announced new rules to make companies consider Singaporeans first for professional jobs before hiring foreigners.
A key part of the new framework change is an online, government-runjobs bank.
From August next year, companies will have to post ads on it for at least 14 days before they can apply for an Employment Pass for a foreigner.