Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say urged organisations and industries to embrace change in order to take the economy into the future.
"Only through transformation can we ride the waves of opportunity, instead of being submerged by the waves of change.
"This way, we prevent stagnation and decline in the shorter term, and sustain growth in the longer term," he told the audience at an awards event in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel last night.
He noted the Republic is moving away from a manpower-heavy economy, and there is a series of sectoral manpower plans to help more than 20 economic sectors.
Mr Lim highlighted businesses that embraced change in order to grow, such as a hotel using new service concepts to cope with lean manpower.
C-suite executives were also given top honours last night, under the 9th International Management Action Award.
They were Mr Henn Tan, chief executive of Trek 2000 International, known for inventing the thumb drive; Sirius Venture Capital founder Eugene Wong; and Mr Terence Yap, chief executive of security and logistics firm Guardforce Group.
Mr Lee Yuen Wai, chairman of Chartered Management Institute Singapore that administered the award, said: "(They) are not just successful managers, but have transformed their respective organisations in innovative and effective ways."
The inaugural Singapore Management Consulting Awards, organised by the Singapore Business Advisors and Consultants Council, was also held at the same event yesterday.
It celebrates excellence in management consulting projects and outstanding individuals.
Consultants from firms such as Avanta Global, Pinnacle One Consultancy, and Verity Consulting were honoured.
Mr George Huang, chairman of the board of governors of the institute, said: "The management consultancy industry has had its fair share of black sheep who have tarnished and brought disrepute to the profession. However, the reality is that the majority of management consultants work quietly in the background to help their client organisations to improve, be more competitive and grow."