Workers with skills gaps not prioritised for training

Photo by Leon

As companies and workers transition into an endemic world, upskilling remains a key driver to build new capabilities and soar forward. According to business leaders however, skills mismatch continues to be the most prevalent form of mismatches (63%).

This is in comparison to experience mismatch (18%), wages mismatch (17%), and expectations mismatch (2%). Business leaders also revealed that workers with skills gaps are not the top priority for training (15%), as compared to workers with high potential (45%).

These were some of the key findings from a labour research on the Future of Continuing Education and Training by the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), in partnership with NTUC LearningHub (NTUC LHUB).

The research surveyed a total of 564 business leaders across industries in Singapore, such as Manufacturing, Information and Communications, Financial and Insurance Services, Wholesale and Retail Trade, and Professional Services.

In further upskilling high potential workers, 67% of employers claim that they offer talent development programmes in the form of job rotations (65%), cross-department collaborations (60%), and secondments to other departments or companies (47%).

However, only one-fifth (26%) of business leaders consider more than 40% of their employees as “high-potential”. This implies that a significant portion of workers lose out on upskilling, as they are less prioritised to receive training.

Commenting on the findings, Mr Patrick Tay, Assistant Secretary-General, NTUC and Director, NTUC Strategy, says, ” A workforce is as strong as its weakest link. To build resilience, companies must ensure that each and every one in their workforce is continuously ready for what is next.

“By raising the competency of the entire workforce, businesses enable themselves to build new capabilities, and remain relevant.”

NTUC LHUB Chairman, Eugene Wong, comments, “When companies upskill their existing workforce, they are not only realising business value, but also improving engagement and retention of employees. Investing in employees also gives them the confidence to apply newly gained skills and knowledge to value-add to the organisation.

“For this reason, I strongly urge companies to relook  their training priorities to address the skills mismatch. At NTUC LHUB, we observe that many businesses require help in identifying skills gaps in their workforce. We always recommend them to embark firstly on a skills competency mapping or training needs analysis exercise, so they can close the skills gaps and invest in targeted upskilling strategies that will meet business objectives.”