Inside the ongoing quest to equip S’poreans with relevant, in-demand skills


Singapore has got talent. Really.

This according to the Global Talent Competitiveness Index 2022, where it finds Singapore the second-best country to find talents.

The report also said that developing local talent and attracting global talent have been key drivers of Singapore’s economy and the country is reaping benefits from the continued investment in education and lifelong learning.

Indeed, you may have heard the importance of continuous learning and skills upgrading multiple times from our political leaders, despite running the risk of sounding like a broken record.

But current market conditions demand such constant reminders.

Economic cycles are shortening, geopolitical tensions are rising and market volatility are increasing. This triple whammy will bring about more frequent employment shocks.

That’s why Manpower Minister Tan See Leng said on Nov 2 that there’s a pressing need to equip Singaporeans with the necessary skills, especially if we want to compete on a global scale.

“We have got to then invest significantly into our own local people, to help them upskill,” he told CNA.

Because we all know that a strong economy is essential to create good jobs for Singaporeans. 

While the Government can identify promising sectors, like it did with fintech and artificial intelligence, everyone has a role to play.

Employees have to take charge of their own career and explore ways to keep themselves relevant — and that includes having that desire to upskill.

Access to newer skills is really just a click away nowadays. And the Government wants you to upskill too, showing its commitment by topping up SkillsFuture Credit.

Meanwhile, businesses are encouraged to innovate so that they are more resilient to changes. 

But most importantly, always remember the Singaporean core.

“We urge companies to really consider diversifying their non-resident workforce, focusing on building up the Singapore core, and making sure that our people reskill and upskill,” he said.

Over at the union side, other than providing learning opportunities, NTUC — led by its Secretary General Ng Chee Meng — is also lobbying hard for a safety net, especially for displaced workers.

The good news is that the Government is looking into NTUC’s proposals.

As you can imagine, the tripartite partnership is not resting on its laurels; there’s simply too much at stake here.

And our part, as Singaporeans, we must be responsible for our own careers — the environment already made more conducive with the right policies and stable infrastructure.

“It’s a matter of how we support them, investing in people, making sure that they’re always ready, and walking every step with them,” said Minister Tan.

We couldn’t agree more. Now, we just need to try.

Cover photo credit: Colliers