9 in 10 Singapore workers see urgent need to reskill, upskill in uncertain job market: Survey

Employees also expect it will be tough to secure new roles, given the recession. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) - Employees in Singapore - especially those who are older - are getting worried about being retrenched or becoming irrelevant in the increasingly uncertain and tight job market.

A UOB survey found that nine in 10 of those employed in the city-state believe they will need to reskill or upskill to stay competitive in the post-pandemic world.

Employees also expect it will be tough to secure new roles, given the recession. Some 88 per cent of Singapore respondents are of the view that companies will prefer candidates that can perform multiple roles.

The majority of respondents (87 per cent) expect employers to digitalise instead of hiring staff, or turn to retrenchments (88 per cent), as means to cut costs.

Among the different age groups, concerns around job security were felt most strongly by older Singaporeans.

Almost everyone (98 per cent) between 56 and 65 years old were focused on reskilling and upskilling to stay relevant. And among those aged 24 to 55, about nine in 10 said the same.

The UOB Asean Consumer Sentiment Study was conducted by the bank and Blackbox in July this year among 3,510 individuals aged 18 to 65 in five South-east Asian countries. It polled 1,030 people in Singapore, and 2,480 across Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam.

The coronavirus pandemic has reaffirmed the importance of adaptability and continual learning to ensure people are ready to take on changing job demands and seize opportunities, said Dean Tong, UOB head of group human resources.

As the digitalisation trend accelerates, it is imperative that employees are developing the skills needed for a future of work dominated by digital technology and data, Mr Tong added.

Under traineeship programmes, UOB is providing on-the-job experiences for fresh graduates and mid-career professionals.

For instance, the bank recently welcomed its second cohort of 18 trainees under the Technology in Finance Immersion Programme, for those interested in a tech career but may not have the necessary banking or technical experience.

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