National Day Rally: What it means for HR

Singapore's prime minister highlighted the need for continuous upskilling in his annual address

National Day Rally: What it means for HR

During the recent National Day Rally (18 August), Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced that Singapore is investing in upskilling and education initiatives to drive the nation into a digital future.

The government aims to champion a readiness to adapt and learn new skills, as well as to embrace different responsibilities as the nature of work transforms.

Additionally, PM Lee shared that the government will ‘promptly respond’ if the economic slowdown significantly affects jobs – whether in terms of retrenchments or unemployment.

He explained that they’ll intervene if there is a need to help sustain the ‘livelihood of workers’.

“We have experienced cyclical downturns like this in the past, and we are confident we can take this one in our stride,” Lee said.

On a similar note, Minister Josephine Teo shared earlier this month that the Ministry of Manpower, together with other government agencies, are closely monitoring the labour market and “ready to step up support” for employers as well as employees in case of a severe downturn.

Employers playing their part
As the government reiterate their focus on upskilling, are organisations doing their part to prep employees for the oncoming wave of disruption?

READ MORE: Is HR ‘failing’ to develop a future-ready workforce?

According to research by Robert Half, Singapore employers have been upping their efforts to ensure the workforce remains competitive and adaptable. Many have made L&D centre-stage, especially in the current skills-short market.

The study found that businesses are investing more in L&D programs, with 73% of hiring managers having increased their training budget over the past two years to help staff learn about new technologies.

Singapore sits slightly above the global average, where 63% of companies have reported an increase in their training budget.

Interestingly, bulk of the budget have been put into in-person sessions. Some of the common L&D programs include:

  • In-person training, seminars, classes (60%)
  • Mentorship (42%)
  • Online courses (38%)
  • Reimbursement for professional certification courses (38%)

HRD spoke to Mathieu Imbert-Bouchard, director at Robert Half to get his take on Singapore’s continued emphasis on upskilling.

“In a market defined by its rate of technological change, employers need to proactively invest in professional development programs that ensure experience and skills remain relevant, productive, and of value to the organisation while simultaneously mediating the ongoing skills shortage,” said Imbert-Bouchard.

“Singapore is undergoing market-wide digital transformation. Companies should therefore nurture their employees and help them prepare for the future.”

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