Five growth industries picked for more focused job help: Lim Swee Say

Office workers walk across the street at the Central Business District in Singapore. ST PHOTO: JAMIE KOH

SINGAPORE - Five political office holders, including a Cabinet minister, will coordinate efforts to match Singaporeans to jobs in industries that hold the promise of growth, but where higher-skilled workers may need help to adapt to the sweeping changes coming their way.

Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say said on Wednesday (July 19) that the five industries have been chosen as they are likely to be the most affected by disruptive technology.

At the same time, they have tremendous potential for job growth, he added. Between them, these industries currently employ almost a million workers.

Second Minister for Manpower Josephine Teo will lead the effort. The growth sectors, which will be overseen by four senior ministers of state, are: healthcare (headed by Dr Amy Khor); infocomm and media (Dr Janil Puthucheary); wholesale trade (Dr Koh Poh Koon); professional services; and financial services. The latter two will be overseen by Ms Indranee Rajah.

New sectors may be added to the list later on, Mr Lim told reporters at the opening of the Careers Connect centre at the Lifelong Learning Institute in Paya Lebar.

This latest move will also help tackle the growing risk of job loss faced by professionals, managers, executives and technicians, or PMETs. This group makes up about seven out of 10 residents laid off.

Mrs Teo noted in a Facebook post on Wednesday that in the next few years, about half of the 25,000 to 40,000 jobs created each year are expected to be in the five growth sectors.

Already, they employ more than half a million local PMETs.

"Even against global headwinds, these five sectors in Singapore are growing and creating new jobs for PMETs. Our goal is to help Singaporeans access these opportunities," she said.

The five ministers have started working with agencies, such as the Monetary Authority of Singapore, Economic Development Board, Infocomm Media Development Authority, Health Ministry and International Enterprise Singapore to systematically identify job openings and the skill requirements.

Mr Lim also said that the Government, employers and unions in each of the sectors will look at how workers will be affected by industry changes.

They will also explore ways to retrain them for new jobs by, for instance, using Adapt and Grow schemes including professional conversion programmes.

In the finance sector, jobs in areas like asset and wealth management, as well as finance-related IT jobs such as data analytics and machine learning, are expected, said Ms Indranee, Senior Minister of State for Finance and Law, in a Facebook post.

She added that her workgroup aims to more effectively match people to jobs they are best suited for.

Dr Koh, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry, said wholesale trade is a diverse industry with an international component, "so PMEs must be prepared to take on regional roles and understand regional market needs".

More help to connect job seekers with jobs was also launched on Wednesday by statutory board Workforce Singapore (WSG).

It added five new free programmes at its career centres. These include one-on-one career guidance for job seekers and counselling for those struggling to cope emotionally with job loss.

Employers can turn to workshops on writing job descriptions with clear skills-based requirements to attract the right talent.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.