Infusing Culture of Learning into the Minds of Singaporeans

February 8, 20171:17 pm688 views

The Committee on the Future Economy (CFE) is soon releasing a report on how Singaporeans can stay ahead of the learning curve in challenging economic times faced with digital disruptions transforming workplace culture, influencing working styles and new business models coming to play.

Focusing on lifelong learning being the objective behind many SkillsFuture initiatives in Singapore supported by the MOM, a culture of lifelong learning should become a habit and ingrained philosophy by businesses in Singapore.

While technological advancements do bring with it, its fair share of disruptions to transform working models, thus causing apprehension about the futuristic outlook for the middle-aged and above.

This is despite the fact that the country follows a visionary approach towards future and management planning. Recent employment figures by the MOM showed layoffs were at a seven-year high amidst restructuring and global economic slowdown.

Yet, Singapore needs foreign labour to fill skilled job roles that involve manufacturing operations, working in tough environments or relocating to another country for business and so on.

A major challenge for the CFE is Singapore economy grappling with changes and a greying workforce, lower birth rates and an already high labour participation rate among Singaporeans at 68 percent in 2016. This means the country could soon witness stagnation in growth rate in the next decade or negligible growth levels, said Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say in the Parliament last year.

For the above reasons, the re-employment age in Singapore has been increased from 65 years to 67 years from July 2017. Companies in Singapore are encouraged to embrace automation to boost productivity levels. However, there is fear amongst workers to be replaced by machines and loss of jobs with technology taking over routine lower-end jobs.

During the phase of transition, technology is creating new job roles for the digitally skilled workforce and new generation of millennials will soon be helming leadership positions at reputed companies. According to Singapore Economic Development Board, influx of investments totalling $9.4 billion was pumped into the market, which will result in creation of 20,100 new jobs.

Some of the most prominent growth sectors impacted by the weathers of change are IT, healthcare, aviation and telecommunications. Project management and civil engineering skills will be in demand with Changi Airport Terminals 4 and 5 and new MRT lines under construction. Advanced manufacturing is expected to create more than 22,000 new jobs, such as for data scientists and robot coordinators, over the next eight years, Straits Times reports.

Also some 15,000 Infocomm and technology vacancies will be available for positions such as software developers, computer engineers, system designers and analysts, while 3,000 precision engineering jobs are expected to be created by 2020.

These changes would require fresh graduates and experienced professionals to have cross-functional expertise and be able to handle different roles and easily transition into different disciplines. Organisations should be able to infuse a culture of continuous learning in their workplaces to develop and train workforce to be future-ready.


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