HR & EDUCATION | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Reskilling proves vital for Singapore workforce's future: report

More than seven in 10 employees regard reskillng as important during the pandemic.

Reskilling has seen a surge in Singapore as 72% of employees said it has been more important for them amidst the pandemic, according to a recent report by recruitment experts Hays.

Hays’ report "Uncovering the DNA of the Future Workplace in Asia" polled more than 9,000 employees across Asia in February 2020 and in September and October 2020. The study reveals “the overwhelming majority of respondents in Singapore regard upskilling as important to their professional development, with reskilling topping their list of upskilling priorities after digital skills.”

As there has already been a shortage in digital skills even before the pandemic struck, reskilling has resurfaced amidst the crisis and even corresponded with the spike in Singapore’s unemployment numbers. “Whilst this can be considered circumstantial, it may also be indicative of a larger trend in line with the rise in hiring of temporary or contracting workers, increased job-hopping and more recent emergences like the gig economy that have made hiring for a cluster of skills more effective than textbook hires,” Hays said.

In line with this, 67% of respondents cited increased learning and development opportunities to be indicative of an organisation’s future-readiness, whilst 88% stressed the importance of upskilling to them, with technical skills development (67%) and leadership training (65%) being priority areas pre-pandemic.

Meanwhile, priority areas have changed following the COVID-19 outbreak: digital skills development now ranked first at 84%, followed by reskilling (80%), e-learning (72%), remote leadership (71%), and orientation (68%).

“A workplace of the future will and should be hiring based on clusters of skills rather than a traditional on-paper perfect fit, as well as encouraging reskilling as a whole,” Hays Singapore regional director Grant Torrens said. “They could begin doing this by encouraging internal rotations, helping fund skills development programs for employees or simply staying open minded to hiring individuals who have undergone career conversions or been part of the gig-economy.”

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