As companies pivot and transform their business models amid the pandemic, the skills gap has widened. In order to secure the right competencies required to drive transformation, two in three (67%) employers say they are willing to hire individuals with micro-credentials or industry certifications to close skills gaps.
In addition, majority of them are ‘open’ or ‘very open’ (53%) and ‘somewhat open’ (37%) to hiring candidates with no prior relevant experience but have undergone industry function or industry-related skills training.
These are some of the key findings from NTUC LearningHub‘s recently launched survey in The New Normal of Sector Skills report.
The survey, which was conducted online in October 2020 with 367 business leaders (senior managers or directors and above) and 567 full-time employees working in Singapore, aimed to uncover the latest employment trends and skill sets in-demand as the workforce settles into the New Normal.
In general, when asked if their companies have sufficient talent to meet their business goals, less than half (48%) agree or strongly agree, while close to three in four employers (72%) find it challenging to fill the roles due to shortage of talent with the required skill sets.
The top three reasons which employers believe are the causes of the shortage of talent include ‘remuneration packages not attractive enough for in-demand talent’ (54%), ‘new technologies are outpacing supply of talent with the right skills’ (51%) and ‘lack of interest from talent to pursue lines of work in which there are talent shortages’ (49%).
Across the industry clusters, employers from Manufacturing (61%) and Trade & Connectivity (54%) are the most open to hiring inexperienced candidates who have undergone relevant industry skills training, while employers from Built Environment (68%) and Manufacturing (61%) are the most open to hiring candidates with no educational degree but have accumulated micro-credentials or industry certifications.
Commenting on the findings, NTUC LHUB’s Chairman, Eugene Wong, says “Many industries that were once flourishing have been hit hard by the black swan event that is COVID-19, and many jobs are changing faster before. Some of the most in-demand skills that we see today did not exist a decade ago, and the same pattern will occur — the core skill sets that are essential in the future may not be possessed by employees today.”
“Hence, it is crucial to continually scan the horizon to swiftly determine emerging trends, upskill and reskill to gain a first-mover advantage that will provide more opportunities in the future of work.
“The first step is often the hardest to take, and NTUC LHUB strives to help employees and employers take that leap through our ‘think tank’ research endeavours that periodically deep dive into Singapore’s market outlook, linking them strategically to the training resources that we provide, for the most optimal upskilling and reskilling outcomes.”
NTUC LHUB’s Director of Technical Skills Product Division, Tay Ee Learn, added, “The pandemic has accelerated the need for newly emerging skills across many industries, causing many companies to experience a mismatch between the skills of their employees and the skills required to drive business performance in the New Normal.
“In the past, many companies focused on hiring employees with a degree certification. However, to plug the skills gaps, we witness a mindset shift, where there is an increased willingness to hire employees with industry-related skills training or micro-credentials.”
“Leveraging this trend, individuals seeking new career opportunities can take up short courses to upskill and reskill as well as accumulate micro-credentials that companies now value. We hope that the report guides readers to reassess the market outlook, reskill to close skills gaps, and reset for growth in 2021.”