While the pandemic has widened the skills shortage gap, a new report found that Singapore employers are not doing enough.
According to NTUC LearningHub’s The New Normal of Sector Skills report, only 32% of employees agree or strongly agree that their company provides them with the right training opportunities to enhance work performance. Almost half (47%) are not confident that their current job will support them in their career growth.
The report gathered perspectives of 367 business leaders (senior managers or directors and above) and 567 full-time employees working in Singapore to assess the adequacy of training and employment opportunities for employees across six major industry clusters.
The results are surprising as the report noted that 52% of employers highlighted a shortage of employees with the right skill sets to achieve current business goals. While skills shortage has always existed, the pandemic made it worse by expanding the focus on digital and data-related traits and an acute shortage of employees with these skills.
“The pandemic has made the upskilling imperative more pressing; hence providing the right training opportunities for employees would strengthen companies’ competitiveness in the face of future disruptions. Companies must transform through new business models, but in order to make strides, their employees must be equipped with the relevant skill sets to deliver their new roles and responsibilities. Employers must act now to elevate their workforce competencies so that they will be well-poised to persevere and prosper in the New Normal,” said Eugene Wong, the chairman of NTUC LHUB.
In response to the lack of training opportunities to enhance work performance, only one in four employees (27%) agree that their potential is maximized at their workplace. Many employees (71%) wish that their company provided more support to help with the upgrading of skills.
The ‘lack of initiative from a company’ is one of the top reasons they do not upskill (34%). The other reasons include lack of time for training (55%), unsure of the skills to upgrade in (42%), unsure of the types of training resources (36%), as well as not knowing where to begin (33%).
On the other hand, while most employers (84%) indicate that employees needed to learn new skills due to changes brought about by COVID-19 to the business, only 65% say they have been training their employees since the pandemic hit.
Jenaline Low, director for the Institute Of Business Excellence And Healthcare Academy at NTUC LHUB, commented that a design thinking approach could help employers to identify the skills gaps
“Using a Design Thinking approach to identify skills gaps will help decision-makers succinctly identify areas for skills upgrading and discover employees’ strengths to optimize their full potential. To add, we urge companies to leverage training support and subsidies available to them, such as the Enhanced Training Support Package and Enhanced Absentee Payroll, which are helpful to defray the training investment cost with course fee and absentee payroll subsidies,” Low added.
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