SINGAPORE - While technical skills are still essential in the job market, employers increasingly require their workers to have softer skills like a positive work attitude and the ability to solve problems innovatively.
Technological change and the emergence of new industries are altering the relative importance of "hard" and "soft" skills, said Second Minister for Trade and Industry S Iswaran on Thursday.
Speaking at a a dialogue about Singapore's economy organised by the Ministry of Trade and Industry, the minister cited as an example a Google advertisement for a data scientist position, which called for "someone who can do more than just crunch numbers, but is also able to work in diverse teams and mentor people".
A good blend of both types of skills will help Singaporeans take on jobs in up and coming industries, the minister said.
While the emergence of new industries and disruptive technologies can lead to job losses, they will also create new and better jobs for Singaporeans.
To take advantage of this, businesses, individuals and the Government need to "respond proactively", said Mr Iswaran.
While acquiring hard skills is still important, young Singaporeans should recognise that educational qualifications alone are "not a guarantor of success at work". Attributes like creativity and social intelligence - which are less susceptible to automation but essential for productive human interaction - are also vital.
The minister reiterated the Government's intention to continue investing in Singapore's pre-employment training and continuing education infrastructure, as part of its efforts to raising productivity and living standards.