More construction firms pledge to improve human resource practices

Construction workers pictured at a construction site at Changi Airport Terminal 4.
Construction workers pictured at a construction site at Changi Airport Terminal 4. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

SINGAPORE - While technology and systems are important, the key to unlocking the construction sector's future is really good and motivated people.

And good human resource (HR) management plays a crucial role in attracting and retaining talented people, said Mr Desmond Lee, Senior Minister of State for National Development and Home Affairs, at a HR forum held by the Singapore Contractors Association (SCAL) on Thursday (May 19).

So far, about 160 construction companies have promised the Building and Construction Authority to adopt better HR practices, up from just 19 in 2014. The areas they pledged to improve are performance management, communication, wellness and support programmes, recruitment and remuneration.

Addressing representatives of the 60 firms at Thursday's event, Mr Lee emphasised the need to create more good jobs and new career opportunities for Singaporeans through the greater use of technology.

"By up-skilling and adopting technology, our Singaporean firms become more competitive, not only locally, but also abroad if they venture overseas," he said, assuring participants that the Government is committed to grow the industry.

In a more advanced sector, contractors should be able to "choose from a range of cutting edge technologies to build faster" and with fewer workers.

He also encouraged firms to send workers for training "at very affordable rates" by tapping the Workforce Training and Upgrading Scheme that pays up to 80 per cent for selected courses.

Mr Kenneth Loo, SCAL president, also urged companies to adopt the right strategies to manage and invest in their employees.

"Qualified skilled manpower are hard to come by," he said, referring to Singapore's tight labour situation.

This is the second year that SCAL is organising the forum, which aims to share the industry's best HR practices.