Train, support workers to bring out their best: Manpower Minister Tan See Leng

Flexible work options have become one of the 'ammo' in the battle for talent. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - As many as eight in 10 employers here allow flexible work, but many are doing it so casually that job seekers, and even their own employees, know nothing about their flexible work option.

The Government would like more companies to adopt the Tripartite Standard on Flexible Work Arrangements which, in turn, would help these firms be visual and more appealing to talent, said Minister for Manpower Tan See Leng on Monday (July 25).

The tripartite standard include having a clear policy on how employees could ask for flexible work arrangements, how these requests are evaluated, and how outcomes are conveyed to workers.

Firms that adopt these standards are recognised by the tripartite alliance of Government, employer and labour movements for their progressive flexible work practices.

Dr Tan made his remarks at the launch of DBS Future Forward Week, the bank's annual learning event for employees at the bank's Marina Bay headquarters.

In a speech peppered with humour, Dr Tan praised DBS as a "standard-bearer" in future proofing local workers.

He commended its retraining of staff, and efforts in making its employees feel valued, engaged and empowered - a topic "very close to my heart", he said.

In his speech, Dr Tan singled out cloud engineer Brian Chiong, 32, and wealth planning manager, Ms Parameswari Rajandiran, 48.

Mr Chiong learned various IT functions, including cyber security, after joining DBS. He lost his job when his previous employer downsized during the pandemic.

Ms Rajandiran started as a bank teller at DBS. Her managers encouraged her to go for part-time diploma studies before she got her current role.

There are 260,000 women and 120,000 retirees outside the workforce - an untapped talent pool waiting for employers to draw upon in this tight labour market, said Dr Tan.

Employers that offer work-life harmony, that support their workers to meet both career and personal aspirations, will have an edge. "I cannot emphasis it more," he said.

Banks in Singapore, including UOB and OCBC, have launched extensive job training and redesign programmes in recent years as swathes of bank jobs get wiped out by rapid automation and digitalisation.

Manpower Minister Tan See Leng (left) at a chat facilitated by DBS Singapore country head Shee Tse Koon on July 25, 2022. PHOTO: DBS

Flexible work options have become one of the "ammo" in the battle for talent, especially in tech and wealth management roles.

Since February last year, DBS employees could work remotely up to 40 per cent of their work hours. Caregivers and young parents could do so completely for up to six consecutive months.

DBS also allows a role to be spilt between two employees, with no halving of medical benefits and insurance coverage - a first, it says, for a local bank.

Last month, employee satisfaction with their flexible work arrangements hit 92 per cent, DBS said, a surge from just over 80 per cent early this year.

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