Warning that many jobs will soon disappear as a result of increased automation, Senior Minister of State (Trade and Industry and National Development) Lee Yi Shyan urged employers to think about how workers can be retrained to acquire skills needed in a new economy.
“As new technologies come on board, many of the intelligent functions, predictive functions, repetitive functions … (such as) recording, filing, documenting, data collection, can be automated. Once that happens, a lot of the jobs will disappear,” Mr Lee said yesterday at the launch of the nationwide 99%SME campaign to promote products and services offered by small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
He pointed to the SkillsFuture initiative, which identifies and anticipates new types of jobs that will be created, as one of the ways to support SMEs that are helping their employees develop new skills. Mr Lee also urged SMEs to go beyond the limitations of brick-and-mortar shopfronts and tap on online platforms to market their products, as well as re-invent their business structures through new technology.
Announced by Singtel yesterday, the 99%SME campaign will run from Oct 29 to Nov 1 with the support of official media partner MediaCorp, enterprise development agency SPRING Singapore, DBS Bank, Microsoft and others, including the various business chambers and associations.
“We hope that through this programme, the awareness and support will also lead to greater participation and support of SkillsFuture,” Mr Lee added.
Explaining the name of the campaign, Mr Bill Chang, CEO of Singtel group enterprise, said that the nearly 190,000 SMEs make up 99 per cent of the total number of registered companies in Singapore. They contributed half of the GDP last year, and employ seven in 10 of the workforce.
The partners of 99%SME are committed to running the campaign yearly for five years. For a start, the campaign will target SMEs that offer business-to-consumer goods and services. Those that offer business-to-business products and services will be considered later. According to SPRING, there are about 16,000 retail businesses and 5,000 food and beverage businesses registered in Singapore.
In the weeks ahead of the campaign, SMEs can publicise their companies and promotional deals on the campaign website, www.99sme.sg. Consumers can also submit videos on what they like about their preferred company to MediaCorp’s lifestyle portal www.toggle.sg. Some aspects of the campaign will include using Singtel’s Amobee Brand Intelligence to analyse online sentiment, helping retailers better engage customers.
The top three SMEs with the most shared links on the campaign website or the highest number of views of their fans’ videos will each receive a S$100,000 advertising grant from MediaCorp.
news source: todayonline.com