Is your Singapore workforce getting enough training?
- All Industries - | 12 Apr 2021
Are you adequately preparing your workforce through sufficient training for their jobs in Singapore? Before we dive into the question, perhaps the preceding question to ask should also be how important is training to your workforce?
TodayOnline reported in 2019 that more than 40 percent of Singapore workers quit their jobs due to lack of skills training, quoting a LinkedIn report. In October 2020, The Business Times pointed out that employers in the technology sector say they have to hire foreigners because local candidates tend to fall short in specialised skills.
Such stories stress the need for a trained workforce. However, our data suggests that companies in Singapore may not be investing enough in formal training. In the past year, most companies involved only 25 percent or less of their workforce in formal training. We explore how various industries are doing in terms of training their workforce and the possible impact of training.
New technologies are changing job design
Job disruptions, skill shortages and mismatches led by technological advancements has been an on-going workplace trend. McKinsey Global Institute’s 2017 report on the future of work predicted 14 percent of the global workforce would experience job displacements or acquire new skills by 2030 due to automation and artificial intelligence.
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Jobs being affected by digitalisation across ICT and non-ICT industries
The global pandemic last year generated an unprecedented pace of digitalisation and seemingly fast-forwarded the skills issues by a decade. A recent report by McKinsey (2020) found 87 percent of global executives already experiencing or are expecting to see skill gaps at the workplace within the next five years. IndSights Research’s latest Business Sentiment Survey (BSS) data found that about a third of ICT and non-ICT companies are planning to either maintain or increase budgets in digitalization and innovation initiatives in the next six months.
The pressure to adapt to digital technologies is not unique to the information and communications technology (ICT) industry but is also felt across non-ICT industries where traditionally routine or labour-dependent tasks are replaced by robotics and machine-learning processes. To ensure that local businesses are well-equipped to adapt to evolving business demands a workforce trained with the right skill sets becomes extremely critical as transformation creates brand new roles while impacting existing positions.
Beyond government initiatives
Business leaders were already aware of the importance of having the right skill sets within their organization – even before the global health crisis. According to PwC’s 2019 Talent Trends Report, 79 percent of CEOs worldwide cited ‘a lack of essential skills in their workforce’ as a threat to the future growth of their organization. Of those who are most worried, 55 percent said their business is not able to innovate effectively because of their staff not having the right skillsets.
The Singapore Government launched several support initiatives (such as the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package and Enhanced Hiring Incentive) to aid local businesses with equipping their workforce with the right skills to meet evolving market demands. However, are businesses doing their part to solve the problem?
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“IndSights Research’s Business Sentiment Survey (BSS) data suggests companies may not be investing enough in formal training as only 39 percent had sent their local staff for formal training in the past year.”
Our conversations with business leaders reveal that training tends to be deprioritized during economic uncertainties to focus available resources on keeping the business afloat.
Yet, companies need to ensure their workforce are equipped with the appropriate skillsets to be resilient against evolving market demands. Based on the latest quarters of BSS data, investment in workforce training was a common attribute of surviving or successful companies. It is useful then to ask again: are you preparing your workforce through sufficient training for their jobs in Singapore, and future-proofing your business?
Contributed by Serene Lim, Manager (Research), IndSights Research