Singapore

Joblessness could rise due to lack of skills, not jobs

Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say says Singapore aims to gain from jobs-of-tomorrow

Unemployment could rise in the future, not because of the shortage of jobs but the shortage of skills, said Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say yesterday at a graduation ceremony for Republic Polytechnic (RP) students.

As intelligent technology continues to reshape industries here and globally, the Government will continue to invest in training and retraining, so that skills match changing jobs.

But people have to play their part as well, said Mr Lim, as he urged graduates to look at technology as a job creator, not competitor, in a future where jobs will come from industries such as data analytics, cyber security and robotisation engineering.

Following a May Day address in which he warned that unemployment could rise further, Mr Lim said that in the process of jobs-of-today disappearing and jobs-of-tomorrow being created, there would be a major re-distribution of jobs across the globe, with some countries experiencing net job gains and others, net losses.

"For Singapore, our choice is clear," said Mr Lim.

"We want to be among the winners, not losers."

Institutions like RP help by not just transferring knowledge but also exposing students to real work environments, he said.

Singapore's fifth polytechnic will see 4,752 students graduating from its pre-employment training for post-secondary students, and continuing education and training for adult learners.

The programmes align with the Government's commitment to help Singaporeans learn new skills and develop new careers.

For Singapore, our choice is clear... We want to be among the winners, not losers. Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say

Doing well in the workforce now is no longer dependent on competence and capability, but on passion and adaptability as well, said Mr Lim.

Yesterday's ceremony included the pioneer cohorts from two programmes - the diploma in human resource management with psychology (DHRMP) and the Polytechnic Foundation Programme (PFP) - both of which produced top performers.

The school's valedictorian, Ms Kristina Manik, 19, is a graduate of the DHRMP course, while Mr Clive Chia Chun, 21, the recipient of the Lee Kuan Yew Award for Mathematics and Science, finished the PFP with a perfect 4.0 grade point average.

Teaching students to bridge their ideas in theory and practice helps them become adaptable, said Ms Beatrice Tan, programme chair of the DHRMP course.

"Employment is based on someone's ability to solve problems. Technology can become outdated, but the ability to solve problems will always be required."

Lim Swee SayMINISTRY OF MANPOWER (MOM)Republic Polytechnic