SG50 Special: How the Singapore Workforce Has Progressed
SG50 Special: How the Singapore Workforce Has Progressed

Posted on 04 August 2015

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Singapore’s workforce has progressed significantly over the past 50 years. In 1965, Singapore was faced with a small domestic market and high unemployment levels. Fast forward 50 years, and the country hosts a wide range of international businesses and prides herself on her low unemployment rate.

These are testament to the abundance of opportunities in the job market. Our tight labour market situation sees employers competing to hire the best, and workers competing for not just a job – but the most satisfying one. Employers must thus strengthen their image as a company with good career opportunities in order to remain attractive to jobseekers and their own employees. In fact, our recent Employer of Choice (EOC) survey found that 86.7 per cent of jobseekers do indeed agree with this notion.

More Enhanced Support

The Government has supported employers tremendously in this aspect. For instance, the Enhanced Training Support (ETS) scheme allows SMEs to receive a minimum of 90 per cent subsidy level when they sponsor their employees for training. This encourages SMEs to send their staff for external training, ensuring the provision of good opportunities and employees’ advanced knowledge.

This scheme was implemented on top of the Workfare Training Support (WTS) scheme. The WTS scheme offers support to employers who sponsor their employees (with monthly salary not exceeding $1,900) for courses up to the post-diploma level. This support is in the form of a 95 per cent course fee subsidy.

According to WDA, the ETS scheme was implemented after feedback from SMEs and industry associations. SMEs identified that training and upgrading was a key area in which they hoped to receive Government support. The fact that Singapore listens to its workforce and implements policies to meet its needs indicates an economy that has prospered and which will only continue to.

Encouraging Knowledge Exchange

Apart from progressing to become a supportive workforce, Singapore’s workforce today also encourages knowledge to be bred and shared.

One way is through the Career Support Programme (CSP) which will be implemented in October 2015. According to WDA, the CSP encourages employers to tap on the wealth of experience that mature Singaporean PMEs can bring to the workplace. Under the CSP, employers who employ mature workers for mid-level jobs that pay at least $4,000 will be given wage support. These mature workers must have been looking for jobs for at least 6 months.

“Mature PMEs have distinct knowledge of their trade from years of local and/or regional experience,” says Ms Jessica Ang, Marketing Director at CareerBuilder Singapore. “(This) can be harnessed for the betterment of the entire organisation.”

Organisations can successfully weld knowledge from different generations through internal mentorship programmes. For instance, mature PMEs can learn about advancing technological practices from younger PMEs, who can in turn learn about established business practices from veteran workers.

But for these initiatives to work, organisations must first view their workers of all ages as valuable talents. “By leveraging external (funding) support and effective internal measures, businesses can develop a progressive workforce – one that is at the forefront of change,” says Ms Jessica.

This National Day, employers ought to be thankful for how far Singapore’s workforce has progressed. This awareness empowers employers and propels them to reach greater goals together with the country.
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