Industry transformation still a work in progress

Experts said that while the nation's productivity has grown by 3.6 per cent annually for the past three years, the transformation story has not been consistent across all industries.
Experts said that while the nation's productivity has grown by 3.6 per cent annually for the past three years, the transformation story has not been consistent across all industries. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - This year's Budget builds on past ones by continuing economic restructuring efforts, seeking to enable companies and workers to tap opportunities and adapt to shifting global conditions, said experts.

But while the nation's productivity has grown by 3.6 per cent annually for the past three years, the transformation story has not been consistent across all industries, they pointed out.

Industry Transformation Maps (ITM), for example, have been launched in 23 sectors, but some are seeing more progress than others, said Singapore Business Federation chief executive Ho Meng Kit.

The finance industry, for one, is doing better because it has a "strong ecosystem" in place, he noted. Stakeholders including financial companies and training institutions, for example, have collaborated to come up with plans to transform the industry, Mr Ho added.

Mr Ho also said small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) may find it difficult to understand the ITMs, which are "too high level".

The ITM could be broken down into actions which companies could implement, he said, adding that besides the Government, other bodies like business chambers and the Employment and Employability Institute could play a role, too.

NTUC Assistant Secretary-General Patrick Tay Teck Guan said ITMs are better implemented in sectors where there are strong tripartite relationships. Now that all 23 ITMs have been launched, execution is the next phase, he noted.

 

Mr Tay said a blind spot for workers is not knowing which jobs and skills will be in demand. The labour movement has a Future Jobs, Skills and Training team which looks at this, he said.

Through the use of simple language and infographics, the team tries to communicate to "the worker on the ground" where the future jobs are, how their current roles are going to be transformed, and the skills required, Mr Tay added.