Hire for attitude, train for skills

Workforce Singapore (WSG) has been relentlessly reinforcing the need for job seekers to be industry-ready with the skills of the future (Job seekers must identify, learn right skills: Workforce Singapore; Nov 30).

In fact, it has put together a praise-worthy blueprint for job seekers to ride the digital wave, which is sweeping across industries.

Despite these efforts, there are still voices of concern: While job seekers complain that these efforts are too late, employers have been lamenting a skills mismatch and unavailability of matching talent.

As a human resources practitioner with about two decades of experience, I would say that what is missing in this game play is a critical success element which has been the hallmark of growth for many industries globally: Hiring for attitude and training for skills.

Employers are looking for "near-fit" candidates to keep the upskilling time as low as possible, especially in a high-cost location like Singapore.

On the other end, job seekers are not exhibiting the desired positivity, risk-taking and flexibility in attitude.

Unless both these players change their approaches, WSG's efforts will not make any headway in volatile, uncertain and complex times such as these.

Sriram Iyer

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 15, 2018, with the headline 'Hire for attitude, train for skills'. Print Edition | Subscribe