SINGAPORE: More programmes to retrain and redeploy workers at risk of being displaced is a key focus of the Manpower Ministry (MOM) this year, said incoming Manpower Minister Josephine Teo on Sunday (Apr 29).
In her May Day message, she added that MOM will also strengthen its programmes that help Singaporeans take up jobs in sectors with growing manpower needs.
Mrs Teo will take over the manpower portfolio from May 1, following a Cabinet reshuffle announced on Tuesday.
In her message, Mrs Teo wrote that productivity growth surpassed workforce growth for the second consecutive year in 2017, and the real median income of Singapore residents grew at a faster rate, compared to the year before.
But the key challenge tripartite partners face is to “sustain the momentum”.
“Productivity gains remain uneven and not pervasive enough across all sectors. This will impact the sustainability of wage growth in the medium to long term,” she said. “At the same time, businesses and jobs continue to be disrupted and workers are being challenged to keep pace with changing skills requirements.”
She noted that in such an environment, the tripartite partners’ shared goal must be twofold: To help every business transform and every worker adapt.
While economic agencies are fully activated to implement the Industry Transformation Maps, Mrs Teo said MOM will complement their efforts on two fronts: By enhancing support for businesses, and stepping up efforts to secure better employment outcomes for Singaporeans through the Adapt and Grow initiative.
The Adapt and Grow initiative was designed to help Singaporeans affected by economic slowdown and restructuring.
Mrs Teo explained that last year, more than 25,000 job seekers were placed in new jobs and careers. “This was achieved through career matching services and programmes addressing skills and wage mismatches,” she said.
She also pointed to the “steadfast support” of tripartite partners in all the Government’s efforts.
She added that in the coming years, many countries will find it difficult to sustain good employment outcomes for their people. “Few enjoy the strong spirit of tripartism in Singapore that has overcome many challenges,” she said.
EMPLOYERS, EMPLOYEES AND UNIONS MUST WORK TOGETHER TO TACKLE CHALLENGES: SNEF
As the economy transforms and companies embrace new business models and digitalisation, employers, employees and the unions must work together to tackle these challenges, said president of the Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF) Robert Yap in his May Day message.
For one, employers must develop and entrench a lean mindset, and “do more with less”. “Lean is all about using fewer resources and optimising the competencies of the workforce to maximise productivity,” he explained. “Workers must learn new skills and adapt to a lean workplace.”
Employers should also adopt responsible employment practices to build progressive workplaces to engage their employees, he added. This includes flexible and inclusive HR policies and practices to enable their employees to meet both work and family responsibilities.
Finally, he noted that technological advances like artificial intelligence and robotics have the potential to make jobs smarter, safer, simpler and more productive. “Employers need to work with employees and unions to tap on these advanced technologies for the benefit of all,” he wrote.