Singapore employees turn to upskilling to stay competitive

Photo by Ron Lach

As businesses continue to accelerate digitalisation, four in five (81%) employees say that they are concerned about the impact of digitalisation on jobs and roles in their respective industries.

Employees reveal that their main concern about digitalisation at the workplace is the ‘need to learn new skills to stay relevant’ (46%).

This is followed by the fear of ‘not being able to adapt to new and complex skills’ (40%) and ‘being replaced due to the lack of skills’ (31%).

These are some key findings from NTUC LearningHub’s recently launched Emerging Jobs and Skills Report. Over 650 working professionals from Singapore were surveyed in December 2021, including employers and employees, to uncover a dual perspective about the current job market, emerging jobs and skills, as well as the training landscape.

Most employees (93%) opine that there is a need to upgrade their skills in order to keep themselves relevant and competitive in their current role.

The top three reasons cited by employees for upskilling are to have ‘better career progression opportunities’ (66%), ‘better pay’ (58%), and ‘better match with existing skillsets’ (50%).

On the other hand, the employers surveyed say that the main impact of digitalisation on the workforce is the need to reskill and upskill workers to meet new skill demands (voted 57%).

This is followed by ’employees will spend less time in automated/ repetitive work’ (54%), and ’employees will have to take on hybrid roles, that is, roles that require a mix of different skill sets’ (54%).

Commenting on the findings, NTUC LearningHub’s Director of Infocomm Technology, Anthony Chew, says, “Although employees fear the effects of digitalisation on their jobs, it is heartening that many see the importance in upskilling to remain employable and competitive.

“However, instead of fearing digitalisation in the new world order, we urge trainees to take advantage of digital transformation to uplift their skillsets and employability. In fact, employers see digitalisation as an opportunity to upgrade workforce competencies so that their employees can work alongside digital solutions and free up their time for higher-value work.

“All in all, workers who are able to adapt well with digital transformation will be considered an asset to the organisations they work for, regardless of which sector they are in, as digital skills today are easily transferrable across job functions and sectors.”