A study by government economists has found that the national training and certification system namely the Singapore Workforce Skills Qualification (WSQ) has continued to boost the wages and likelihood of employment for trainees.
The study found that people who completed bite-sized WSQ modules had real wages that were 0.8 percent higher on average in the year after training, compared to those who had not attended training.
The benefits were even larger for those who achieved a WSQ full qualification through completing several modules. They had an average real wage premium of 5.8 percent in the year after training.
These findings were published in the Economic Survey of Singapore report released on Friday (Feb 15) by the Ministry of Trade and Industry. For the study, economists Marsha Teo and Wen Jia Ying examined data from SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) which funds the WSQ programmes and awards the certifications. The data was examined for all trainees who received a full qualification or a statement of achievement after completing a module from 2011 to 2016. They also looked at data on wages and workplace characteristics over time.
The study also found that in addition to the wage boost, trainees who were not working during the year they received training were also more likely to be employed in the following year than people who did not attend training.
On average, those who received a statement of achievement were 3.5 percentage points more likely to be employed, while those who received a full qualification were 2.6 percentage points more likely to be employed.
As per the report, “The human capital accumulated through training may raise workers' productivity and in turn, their wages, as employers reward more productive employees”
However, it also noted that on the other hand, productivity and wage gains from training may take time to materialize. For example, trainees who gain new skills and switch firms or industries may take a pay cut in return for possible higher wages in the future. However, overall the study found"strong evidence that individuals have benefited from WSQ training aimed at upgrading their skills and enhancing their employability."
The timing of this report becomes especially significant as the government is expected to put more emphasis on the SkillsFuture program as part of the 2019 budget