Asia

New task force to help S'pore workers get jobs in 10 key sectors

SINGAPORE – A new Jobs Taskforce has been set up to help locals who want to work in 10 key sectors with the most potential as Singapore restructures its economy.

The 10 sectors are infocommunications technology and media, financial services, professional services such as accountancy, manufacturing, healthcare, wholesale trade, built environment, logistics, food services and retail.

Manpower Minister Tan See Leng, announcing the eight-member task force which he chairs, said it will focus on three areas: supporting local workers who want to pivot into these key sectors, helping existing workers reskill as their job scopes change and promoting progressive human capital practices.

Dr Tan, who is also Second Minister for Trade and Industry, said industry and workforce transformation are closely interlinked.

As companies transform and new business models emerge, work processes and skills will need to be updated, and jobs will also change as a result.

The workforce will need to transform in tandem with the industry, he added.

To this end, the task force will coordinate the efforts of the various agencies involved in growing the local talent pool for the sectors, and ensuring a strong Singaporean core.

It brings together the manpower, trade and industry, communications and information, health and education ministries – which are involved in industry transformation and workforce development – as well as the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

It will also work alongside its tripartite partners, such as the unions and employers.

Giving more details on what the task force will do, Dr Tan said its aim is to help people better understand the jobs available in these sectors and the kind of skills they will need to take on the roles available.

As Singapore pushes ahead with its economic transformation plans and job roles change, some workers have found it hard to keep up with the jobs available, while others do not have the requisite skills for the new jobs being created.

Dr Tan said the task force will find out where these “missed matches” and “mismatches” are.

Noting that many companies want workers who can just “plug and play”, he said: “Increasingly with the complexity of the economy and evolution of businesses, it’s very hard to find someone who can 100 per cent be a proper fit. So, it’s a matter of understanding how critical that skill shortage is and what are the things that we can do, to help to fulfil and cover those gaps.”

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There may also be many middle-aged workers in these sectors who need to level up and acquire new skills as their jobs evolve or are made obsolete due to technological advances, and the task force will look at how it can help such workers upskill, he added.

To better understand the concerns of workers and businesses, Dr Tan said he will be speaking to young people who are looking for jobs, mature workers who are looking for a change and lower-wage workers as well as large technology companies and small and medium-sized enterprises, among others.

This series of dialogues will start later this year and stretch into the next year.

The end goal is to formulate policies that are more targeted to help the different groups, said Dr Tan.

“I strongly believe that by rethinking how we serve our citizens and businesses, we can achieve so much more.”

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