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Talent growth key to Singapore’s economic ambitions: KPMG

Upskilling workers, emerging technologies and ESG initiatives as top priorities.

KPMG stressed the need for Singapore to prioritise upskilling and reskilling its workforce to help ensure that talent remain relevant and well-equipped for the future.

“With the transition to a green economy, businesses must invest in tools and training to upskill their people. This would include recruiting qualified trainers as well as having the right infrastructure and promoting innovation,” Lee Sze Yeng, managing partner of KPMG in Singapore, said ahead of the 2024 budget speech on 16 Feb.

Lee said public-private partnerships can help revalidate businesses and identify where they may need to integrate sustainability into job roles as the green skills has moved beyond the traditional green jobs.

“In the upcoming budget, the government can explore creating a comprehensive ESG talent development roadmap by sector or value chain,” Lee added. 

She said businesses can embark on upskilling and reskilling initiatives while the government dangles incentives like tax perks and subsidies for employers with a clear training roadmap.

KPMG in Singapore also suggested that the city-state should be more open to accepting foreigners to close the talent gap in some sectors.

To better facilitate the cross-border exchange of talent, Murray Sarelius, partner and head of personal tax and global mobility services at KPMG in Singapore, recommended that the government align the taxation and sourcing of equity income with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), as well as consider tax concessions to make business travel easier.

“Tax needs to be there to support and help, rather than hinder talent initiatives,” Sarelius said. “As we compete for that talent, we have to attract new skills into Singapore as well as being able to export people to gain new experience, gain new skills and then bring them back to Singapore.”

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