Develop skills to survive in evolving labour market

Local employment growth stood at 95,000 last year, more than double the figure for 2011, said Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin.

But don't expect this to last, he cautioned, predicting the growth to "slow dramatically" to 20,000 by the end of this decade.

"This is largely due to our baby boomers gradually exiting the workforce and our smaller cohorts entering the workforce," Mr Tan explained, adding that Singapore will experience a significant tightening of the labour market.

"If businesses do not become more manpower-lean, if they do not become more productive, they will have great difficulty in finding enough manpower - whether local or foreign - to run their operations."

Other than the tightening labour market, technology is another significant change that will affect us in the next decade, Mr Tan said.

"It is not new. Technology has always been changing businesses and jobs, but will do so at an ever increasing rate."

He pointed out that businesses need to rely on technology to innovate to remain competitive in this "rapidly evolving environment" and grow within our national manpower constraints.

In the same vein, Singaporeans will have to move towards higher-value skills to stay relevant and capitalise on opportunities in this new environment.

Due to these shifts, Mr Tan said now is the right time to make a "further concerted push" to develop Singaporeans.

"Moving forward, it has to be about quality growth, quality companies, and quality skills in every individual," he said.

"With SkillsFuture, we have embarked on a major new phase of investment in our people, to develop every Singaporean to the fullest, not just in school but throughout life."