Singapore skills shortage to cross global average
Developed by California-based recruitment consulting firm Robert Half, the international annual workplace survey 2019 saw participation from 6,075 global business leaders from 13 countries. Speaking of the findings specific to Singapore, in line with Singapore PM Lee’s National Day Rally speech which emphasized on the need to upskill employees for a digital future, the survey brings to light interesting statistics on workplace trends around skilling needs and talent management in the city.
Key findings of the survey are as below:
- Indicating a major skills shortage, 84 percent Singaporean managers predict that finding skilled and qualified professionals in Singapore will be a major challenge in the next five years. The predicted skill shortage for Singapore is 13 percent higher than the global average. The only country to exceed this number is Brazil at 88 percent
- 73 percent Singaporean managers have boosted their training budget to upskill employees, exceeding the global average of 63 percent
- Managers rely heavily on in-person trainings (60 percent) and mentorship (42 percent) to prepare the workforce for meeting future talent skill set, over and above online courses (38 percent)
“In a market defined by its rate of technological change, employers need to proactively invest in professional development programs that incorporate greater upskilling and reskilling opportunities to ensure experience and skills remain relevant, productive, and of value to the organisation while simultaneously mediating the ongoing skills shortage,” said Mathieu Imbert-Bouchard, Director, Robert Half.
73 percent Singaporean hiring managers stated that they have increased training budgets in the last two years compared to a global average of 63 percent. The only countries to cross Singapore’s training budget spike are Brazil (84 percent) and UAE (77 percent).
Addressing the skills shortage
Attending to the skills shortage, Singaporean companies are taking several initiatives to upskill employees across career stages to meet the changing needs of the dynamic digital economy. Some of the steps taken by companies are:
- 60 percent Singaporean managers are providing in-person classroom training, workshops and seminars to educate employees on emerging technologies
- Nearly 42 percent (four in ten) managers are providing mentorship to employees across the organization
- 38 percent companies have ongoing online courses for employees to keep themselves updated with the latest technology trends
- 38 percent of Singaporean companies are also offering reimbursement for professional certification from outside institutions/ universities
Sharing his thoughts on the way forward for addressing skills gap, Bouchard said, “Singapore is undergoing market-wide digital transformation. Companies should therefore nurture their employees and help them prepare for the future. Employees on their part must embrace a learning mindset and understand the importance of learning new skills as traditional roles evolve. Upskilling or reskilling are key to a successful career.”
With people investment being a priority for PM Lee, companies need to follow suit and ensure skilling at scale on priority to take on the digital revolution both locally and globally.