The Significance of SkillsFuture in Today's Economy
Today's economy requires skills that are appropriate for the current business climate. To be successful in today's competitive and changing market environments, you must have the business skills that employers seek. Because the economy is constantly changing, businesses must learn to adapt in novel ways. That is why companies value employees who make the most of difficult situations and come up with better ways to help the company achieve its objectives.
SkillsFuture is a national movement that provides opportunities for all Singaporeans and Singaporean permanent residents to reach their full potential at various stages of their lives1. Regardless of your starting point, you are encouraged to realize your goals and aspirations through a comprehensive education and training system2. It enabled Singaporeans to upgrade their skills to have better jobs, higher incomes, and higher standards of living. From the employer’s point of view, a highly skilled and competitive workforce will be beneficial for them.
SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) also teams up with several essential stakeholders to make certain that students and adults will have access to excellent and business-relevant training programs which will meet the needs of numerous sectors for a productive workforce.
Catching Up with Changes
The fast development of technology and innovation today has quickened the pace of change. Jobs have evolved on a massive scale. Automation and a knowledge-based economy are already up and running.
Simultaneously, the required skills and competencies have rapidly evolved. All these developments resulted in the launching in Singapore of the SkillsFuture movement in 2015.
Later, the ‘Next Bound of SkillsFuture’ was created to strengthen support for individuals and businesses on their skill development journeys. It will build on SSG's previous collaboration with employers, industry associations, educational institutions, labor unions, and government agencies to develop our Skills Frameworks3. It is constantly updated to provide Singaporeans with timely and relevant job-skills insights.
Identified Emerging Industries
The digital economy, green economy, and care economy are the three main growth areas identified in SkillsFuture Singapore's inaugural Skills Demand for the Future Economy report4.
The report examined the most important skills required in emerging economic growth areas. These three areas highlight the economic priorities of Singapore for the coming years. Hence, we can start to see the growing number of job opportunities in the care, digital and green economies5.
The Skills Demand for the Future Economy report also identified jobs that are likely to be in demand over the next three years, as well as the skills, certifications, and relevant training needed, to fill such roles in these three emerging areas.
Due to the disruptions brought about by Covid-19, it has been shown that the nature of jobs and the pace of change in the workplace will speed up in the coming years. As a result, it is not a question of “if”, but of “when” the skills we have today will become obsolete. Hence, the skills that workers will need to stay competitive in each potential area are based on the roles that are likely to be in demand shortly.
So, let’s learn more about these three emerging economies.
Due to Singapore’s aging population, demand for workers in the care economy is expected to increase. The care economy includes services such as healthcare, wellness, community care, and education7.
However, the challenge for HR practitioners in this industry is the bottleneck in resources. Though the demand for care economy workers is high, there is still a drastic shortage of workforce supply. One example that we can see, is the manpower shortage of nurses and healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic period.
Therefore, the extent to which Skillsfuture can help the care economy is still limited if the workforce is not motivated.
The most-in-demand skills in the digital economy are technological application and development which also include data analysis and engineering7. Digital economy jobs are currently needed in a variety of industries which include manufacturing, smart home technology, automation, robotics, the internet of things, trade and connectivity, modern services, and many other digital lifestyle products.
According to the report, these jobs are classified as "tech-lite" or "tech-heavy”. Tech-lite roles do not require advanced technical skills such as data analysis and digital marketing analysis. Examples of tech-heavy roles are software engineers and artificial intelligence engineers which are most in demand in the aerospace, media, and other similar sectors.
The green economy sector develops products and services that have a positive environmental impact. They aim to reduce the environmental effects of manufacturing as well as carbon footprint management7. It centers on restructuring and creating business functions by shifting environmentally harmful activities to greener ones. Among the industries represented are recycling management, electric vehicles, green building technology, solar energy, and many more.
As the economy restructures and businesses seek new ways to innovate and increase productivity, the demand for higher-skilled workers will rise. The tripartite SkillsFuture Council is tasked with coordinating a national drive to assist Singaporeans in the development of future-relevant skills and in building a future based on mastery of skills in all jobs.
The SkillsFuture Council focuses on four key areas which are assisting individuals in making well-informed decisions about education, training, and careers; creating an integrated, high-quality education and training system that responds to the ever-changing needs of the industry; as well as employer recognition and career development based on skills and mastery are highly encouraged.
The significance of SkillsFuture in today’s economy is more than just workforce development, it is also about the attainment of skills mastery, personal development, and social integration. It is about shaping the future of Singapore’s economy.
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