Mr. Lim Swee Say, Secretary-General of Singapore’s labour movement, the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), has recently pointed out three manpower challenges that Singapore needs to tackle in order to stay ahead of the competition.
They include working on ways to deal with a widening income gap, an ageing workforce and the potential rise of structural unemployment. He shared three strategies to work on these issues and in turn, have a better economy.
To lower unemployment amid a tight labor market, he said Singapore needs to create enough good jobs for its people. Stressing on productivity, he said that growing the economy at 3% per annum with a productivity gain of 2% is better than 4% economic growth per annum with only 1% productivity gain.
He added that companies and industries must push harder to become leaner, greener and smarter. On the matter of retaining and attracting talent, Mr. Lim said that efforts towards making jobs easier, smarter and safer must be made. In turn, these efforts could help create jobs sustainably and lower instances of wage stagnation.
Mr. Lim added that Singapore, being a high cost location amid a lower cost region, has to offer a more capable workforce. He urged Singapore companies to speed up the upgrading of its workers’ skills, knowledge and expertise. He also emphasized on the need to strengthen the Singaporean core workforce in every major as well as new, high growth sectors of the economy. This is to allow people to take greater pride in the country’s progress.
A cohesive society is a better society, says Mr. Lim. A more positive energy and shared aspiration will glue Singaporeans together and help build a happier and better Singapore.
Analysis by Singapore company incorporation specialist Rikvin shows that while increased productivity may help companies work cheaper, better and faster, it may also contribute to structural unemployment if intensive technology adoption displaces the function of the worker. Unless technology adoption goes hand in hand with the upskilling of workers, then the danger of structural unemployment will become more real in future.
Commenting further, Ms. Christine Lim, General Manager of Rikvin said, “The move to strengthen the Singapore core in key and flourishing sectors is an effort to enhance citizen participation in nation building. This may have a positive effect on building a sense of pride and belonging to the country and is in line with the 2013 Budget’s agenda to create a more inclusive society and workforce for citizens.”
Analysis by Rikvin shows that Singapore is seeking to attract more bona fide startups. This is reflected in the updated Singapore Entrepass Scheme, which is due to come into effect early next month. Startups and SMEs employ 7/10 workers in Singapore.