The budget statement to be delivered on February 18th in Singapore will have more initiatives to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) tap new technologies to enhance the way they operate and encourage companies to upskill its employees.
"I encourage SMEs to send staff for upskilling, otherwise you can buy the technology but your workforce may not be able to help you reap the full benefits," said Dr Koh Poh Koon, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry.
While the details of the initiatives remain unknown, they will be aimed at helping SMEs digitize and further their research and development, as well as train their workforce to make use of these new technologies.
A few days back, a recent report by DBS Bank also revealed that the Singapore Budget 2019 may focus on helping the ‘exceptionally vulnerable’ labor force segment – professionals, managers, executives, and technicians (PMETs). Recently, even Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat shared his sentiments about the country’s future prospects in terms of generating good jobs for workers.
Will 2019 Budget solve the skilling and talent scarcity challenge for Singapore?
Following the global trend, technological disruptions in Singapore has also impacted the job market in the country. A recent study by Cisco and Oxford Economics claims that Singapore faces the biggest mismatch between skills and jobs created in the region. Further, the report highlights that one-fifth of Singapore's full-time equivalent workforce will have had their jobs displaced by 2028.
At the face of this reality, it is crucial for the entire nation to focus on policies that promote upskilling and help both talent and organizations in accelerating the rate of technological adoption. Even national leaders have now acknowledged the importance of skilling, however, Singapore is still far from bridging the skilling gap and curbing the challenge of talent scarcity.
What policies does the Singapore Budget 2019 include and how far it empowers the workforce of the nation will be unraveled soon.