54,000 jobs created in last 3 years by investments attracted by EDB, majority filled by locals

For the investments that EDB attracted in 2021, about 80 per cent of the jobs, with salaries of more than $4,000, will be held by locals. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - Over the last three years, some 54,000 jobs were created through investments attracted by the Economic Development Board (EDB).

Most are good-paying jobs that are filled by locals, said Minister of State for Trade and Industry Alvin Tan in Parliament on Monday (Feb 14).

These are jobs for software engineers, data scientists, lab technicians and consultants, and span functions such as production, digital, business services and innovation, among others.

For the investments that EDB attracted in 2021, about 80 per cent of the jobs, with salaries of more than $4,000, will be held by locals.

This is according to the companies' own projections and will ultimately depend on prevailing labour market conditions and the ability of the companies themselves to identify suitable local talent, Mr Tan added.

He was replying to questions posed by Ms Foo Mee Har (West Coast GRC) and Mr Sharael Taha (Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC) on the investments that Singapore has attracted and the types of jobs that were generated.

He said: "EDB attracts investments in a wide range of sectors, including manufacturing, professional services, and infocommunications and media.

"Over the years, the profile of investments has moved towards higher value-added and innovation-focused activities, including in the semiconductor and biomedical manufacturing industries. We expect to attract more investments in advanced manufacturing, the digital economy and the green economy in the coming years."

Mr Tan added that these investments help to strengthen Singapore's ecosystem and competitiveness, making Singapore relevant to the world, while also allowing locals to benefit from the jobs that are created.

"One reason for companies choosing Singapore is our talent pool of local and complementary global talent," he said.

Larger firms also become "queen bees" by providing training opportunities for the entire ecosystem. For instance, the Bosch Rexroth Regional Training Centre created by Bosch Rexroth, Singapore Polytechnic and other bodies, aim to train 1,500 workers in Industry 4.0 methods and technologies over the next five years.

But employers have said that they find it increasingly challenging to access the talent they need, especially in areas where there is a shortage of skills, Mr Tan said.

"This is a critical challenge we must overcome together, given the slowing growth in our local workforce, and the aggressive competition posed by many cities and technology hubs for talent from all around the world."

He added that to stay competitive and resilient, Singapore must remain open to complementary talent.

"The Government will continue to calibrate changes in our foreign manpower policies to allow companies to access the talent and skills they need to grow our economy, and also to ensure that these growth opportunities will create even better jobs for Singaporeans," he said.

Initiatives like continuing education and training schemes, as well as professional conversion programmes, help Singaporeans gain the relevant skills.

Meanwhile, the fair consideration framework also ensures Singaporeans are not discriminated against during recruitment, he added.

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