SkillsFuture report pinpoints skills Singaporeans urgently need in the next 3 years

The skills highlighted in the report are those that are required by the most number of jobs in the sectors. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The skills most urgently needed by Singaporeans have been identified in a new report by SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG).

The inaugural Skills Demand For The Future Economy Report was launched by Education Minister Chan Chun Sing on Wednesday (Dec 8). It pinpoints the top 20 clusters of skills in the digital, green and care sectors most needed in the next one to three years.

Mr Chan launched the report at the Skills Demand For The Future Economy Forum, where he gave an opening speech.

He said the report does not cover the entire economy, but spotlights jobs and skill trends in the three sectors, calling them "key growth areas" for the country.

Globally, there is a huge demand for digital skills, and the Singapore Green Plan and demographic changes will see the local sustainability and care industries expand rapidly in the next few years, he said.

He said: "Today, more than 450 job roles across 17 sectors require green skills in their job tasks... With an ageing population, the demand for local workers in the care economy will continue to grow rapidly.

"We are not here just to figure out which are the growth sectors but, more importantly, we want to help our people plan and figure out which are the skill sets required across the different sectors and across the different job scopes."

The skills highlighted are those that are required by the most number of jobs in the sectors, he added.

The report shows the 20 most important clusters of skills in the three sectors, which it calls "priority skills".

In the digital sector, the top three are technology application, data analysis and market research.

In the green sector, they are green process design, carbon footprint management and environmental management system.

In the care sector, they are conduct and ethics, stakeholder management and inclusive practices.

The report goes on to break down the sectors into sub-sections and highlights the priority skills in these.

For example, for the digital sector, the report shows the priority skills for both tech-heavy and tech-lite jobs, as well as those for digital jobs and skills in financial and retail services.

It also features personal stories from people who have changed careers or sectors, as well as insights from chief executives Wong Kim Yin of Sembcorp Industries and Chin Wei Jia of HMI Group, other business leaders and educators.

Education Minister Chan Chun Sing speaking at the launch of the inaugural Skills Demand For The Future Economy report. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

Educators The Straits Times spoke to said Singaporeans should focus not only on gaining sector-specific skills, but also the general skills the report highlights.

Dean of the National University of Singapore's (NUS) School of Design and Environment Lam Khee Poh told ST: "It is important to work on the core skills the report identifies like critical and creative thinking because more so than specific technical skills, these are the ones that help you learn and adapt. Specific, technical skills can come after."

The report designates 16 soft skills which it calls "critical core skills", organised into three clusters: thinking critically, interacting with others and staying relevant.

Professor Susanna Leong, NUS vice-provost (life long education), told ST that both workers and employers should use the report as a road map to navigate the three key growth areas.

She said: "With the information made available in the report, learners could find out how to map out their learning pathways to gain skills required for the job roles by taking reference from SSG's Skills Frameworks.

"This forms a systematic road map for learners to determine their choice of study based on their aspirations, or for mid-careerists to pivot into new job roles."

The report also has a section on charting skills development, which guides readers on where to find the right courses, listing institutions and their course offerings.

Mr Chan added that SSG will be adding to the report in future.

He said: "The report is but the first step we are taking, to communicate and share more skills insights with the public.

"SSG will refresh the report annually and work at supplementing it with other channels of sharing that are more bite-sized and higher-tempo."

Join ST's WhatsApp Channel and get the latest news and must-reads.