7 In 10 SMEs need greater support in workforce upskilling

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As upskilling tops the business agenda for companies in Singapore, seven in ten (68%) Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) employers say that they require more support in the form of training resources. One in two (50%) of SME employers cite ‘the lack of budget’ as the key challenge in upskilling their workforce.

These are some of the key findings from NTUC LearningHub (NTUC LHUB)’s recent Workforce Learning in Workplace Transformation (WLWT) report. The report is based on a survey with 150 business leaders and 300 employees across industries in Singapore, and interviews with human resource experts.  

SME employers have also expressed that the most pressing areas in which they require support include ‘training resources to tap on’ (68%), ‘more support from employees’ (65%) and ‘more government training support’ (55%).

In addition, SMEs also revealed that sending workers to ‘attend courses can be disruptive to daily operations’ (48%) and the ‘lack of support from employees’ (43%) are also challenges encountered when implementing workforce training programmes.

As compared to their larger counterparts, SMEs remain the most sluggish when it comes to training and development. SME companies are the slowest in making plans to improve training (68%), as compared to their larger counterparts (82%).

They are also the least likely to make improvements to training methods (19%) and to use post-training feedback to measure the effectiveness of workforce learning programmes (48%), as compared to their larger peers in these two areas (40% and 71% respectively).

Commenting on the findings, NTUC LearningHub Director of Infocomm Technology, Anthony Chew says, “As the leading Continuing Education and Training (CET) provider in Singapore, we hope to enable more businesses to tap on training resources, government funding and support schemes, in order to drive human-centric business transformation.

“Being the key pillar of our economy, SMEs must also be proactive in the employability of their existing workforce to survive and thrive in a new world order.”