Strong Training Framework Is Helpful To Employees And Companies In Singapore
Plug Skills Gap By Improving Training
Singapore’s Manpower Minister highlighted the importance of a robust training framework at the recent launch of Workforce Singapore (WSG) programme, “The gap between jobs and skills will widen as businesses transform in the digital economy, but Singapore must see this as an opportunity. If we are transforming our economy at a fast enough rate, then the jobs (and) skills mismatch must actually enlarge.”
“The story for Singapore must be that businesses do want to innovate, and when businesses innovate, job requirements will change,” said the Manpower Minister. “The innovation story becomes possible if Singapore has a good training system in place to help people acquire the skills that will make them effective in their redesigned jobs.”
The observation on the widening skills gap comes after both employment and unemployment rates inched up in the third quarter of 2019, based on a recent report by the Ministry of Manpower.
“More innovative companies like Decathlon, a French sporting goods retailer, will find themselves hamstrung for talent if Singapore does not have a good training framework in place,” the Manpower Minister added. “A good training system benefits not just the businesses, but the workers as well. It all fits together.”
The Manpower Minister also urged firms to keep progressing with business transformation and to invest in training for workers to further develop their skills. “We will continue to help employers and workers in your transformation and employment journey through our suite of support schemes.”
National Trades Union Congress Will Help Overcome Job Structural Mismatch
In addition to the Manpower Minister’s comment on improving training systems, the subject was also been brought up by Assistant Secretary-General of the National Trades Union Congress, “We will need to continue to accelerate our efforts, in collaboration with (the Government and employers)… to overcome the structural mismatches which are causing the current unemployment.”
In reference to the employment figures for the third quarter released in the Ministry of Manpower report, Assistant Secretary-General of the National Trades Union Congress added, “The rise in unemployment and retrenchment figures, coupled with a rise in employment, suggests that structural challenges such as skills and jobs mismatches continue to be the main cause of unemployment in Singapore.”
Excluding the employment numbers of foreign domestic workers, Singapore’s total employment rate had increased by a revised 21,700 between July and September, an increase from the previous quarter. At the same time, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased from 2.2 per cent in the April to June quarter to 2.3 per cent.
An economist from CIMB Private Banking commented that the increase of digitalisation has created higher job demands in the service sector, especially for professional services, and information and communication services.
There has also been an increase in hiring rates in the community, social and personal services sector.
The emphasis by the government, the unions and economic experts for companies to improve the training framework is therefore an important call to be heeded as working adults who want to meet job demands in the service sector will need to be trained in these areas to fill the job vacancy gaps as businesses transform to gear up for the future economy.