Singapore's Budget 2024 likely to encourage upskilling: reports

Budget 2024 also expected to address rising business costs in Singapore

Singapore's Budget 2024 likely to encourage upskilling: reports

Singapore's upcoming budget will likely rollout initiatives to support the workforce's desire to upskill following the widespread adoption of artificial intelligence in workplaces, according to reports.

The upcoming Budget 2024 is expected to focus on boosting the workforce's productivity by introducing a range of initiatives to encourage upskilling in digitalisation, artificial intelligence, and green technologies, BNN reported, citing economists from the United Overseas Bank (UOB).

According to UOB Senior Economist Alvin Liew and Associate Economist Jester Koh, incentives on upskilling could include a top-up to Singapore's SkillsFuture Credit.

The initiative, introduced in 2015, aims to encourage Singaporeans aged 25 and above to reskill and upskill by offering a one-off credit top-up $500.

A potential boost to this scheme will support Singaporeans' strong desire to upskill, as indicated by a recent survey from Indeed, which found that over two-thirds of employees in Singapore plan to upskill so they don't get left behind amid fears that AI could hinder job opportunities.

Budget to support businesses

Meanwhile, the economists also said co-matching schemes with employers or training allowances for mid-career workers are underway.

An increase in the co-funding share under the Progressive Wage Credit Scheme for the years 2024 to 2026 could be expected, according to Liew, BNN reported.

Organisations across Singapore can also expect further assistance from the government as economists predict an additional one-off Central Provident Fund (CPF) transition offset amid a looming CPF monthly salary ceiling increase by 2026.

These measures come as employers seek the government's help over growing business costs, driven mainly by manpower expenses in Singapore.

Nearly nine in 10 employers in a survey by the Singapore Business Federation said they want support on addressing costs, while 53% said they would like support in hiring, developing, and retaining talent.

Government support for companies to address today's cost challenges while equipping them with required capabilities in digitalisation, internationalisation, and ESG will be needed for businesses to be competitive and future-ready," SBF CEO Kok Ping Soon said.

Singaporean Finance Minister Lawrence Wong is set to unveil the state's Budget 2024 on February 16, Reuters reported.

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