Workers in Singapore Worst Hit by AI Disruption in ASEAN

September 25, 20189:15 am1188 views

Technological disruption such as artificial intelligence (AI) will have significant effect on global labour market. The rise of robots in the workplace can lead to job displacement, posing a threat for workers to lose their jobs.

Based on a study on the impact of AI on workers in six Southeast Asian countries commissioned by Cisco and Oxford Economics, Singaporean workers are predicted to be worst hit by disruptive technology in the next decade. With nearly 21 percent fulltime equivalent workforce will have their jobs displaced by 2028, the study found that the country will have to confront the biggest skills mismatch among other countries in the region.

Released on Wednesday (Sept 12), the study findings showed that about one-fifth of Singapore’s fulltime equivalent workforce (20.6 percent) will have their jobs displaced by next decade. This is higher than the figures for Vietnam (13.8 percent), Thailand (11.9 percent), the Philippines (10.1 percent), Indonesia (8.1 percent) and Malaysia (7.4 percent).

The study noted that having supportive environment to spur innovation and digital transformation, Singapore is already close to the frontier of technological progress. Not to mention, it also has strategic geographical area as well as modern and upgradeable infrastructure. All of these advantages can be used to boost innovations. No wonder, the higher rate of job displacement is due to Singapore’s digital transformation taking place at a faster rate than other Asean countries Today Online reports.

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Meanwhile, the smaller job displacement rate in relative terms for other economies such as Indonesia and the Philippines was due to a variety of factors, including a possibly slower pace of technological change, expectations of institutional and political constraints on automation, and a challenging regulatory environment.

As displaced workers reskill to move into new jobs, the study suggests that Singapore faces the biggest challenge despite its highly skilled workforce. The Republic is set to confront a gap in average skill levels of 14.3 (on a scale of 100), higher than the Philippines (13.9), Vietnam (13.4), Malaysia (12.7), Thailand (8.5) and Indonesia (8.4).

“The majority of new job opportunities in Singapore are likely to be created in highly skilled managerial and professional roles, reflecting the growth areas of the economy. Thus, a considerable uplift is required in the overall skills composition of (the) workforce,” it added.

The acute skills shortfall in the region stems largely from the areas of information technology skills including those in programming and systems evaluation (41 percent) and operations skills such as those in installation and operations analysis (12 percent).

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