Structured training gets the nod from firms

Record eight in 10 employers put workers through such schemes, MOM survey shows

A record eight in 10 employers put their workers through structured training last year, according to a biennial Ministry of Manpower (MOM) survey released yesterday.

Most also reported that training had improved staff performance in areas like work efficiency and job skills, though fewer than half felt it had a positive impact in retaining staff or raising wages.

The Survey on Employer Supported Training data shows an increase from seven in 10 employers in 2012.

The last record high for such training figures was in 2005 and 2006, with 72 per cent of employers sending staff for training.

Structured training, which encompasses classroom training, workshops or seminars, is progressive and conducted by lecturers or course supervisors. It does not include informal on-the-job training such as observing others perform tasks at work.

According to MOM, employers cited increased training subsidies and better workload management as their top motivations for sending their staff for training.

More small and medium-sized enterprises took advantage of training subsidies to send workers for upgrading. For instance, 78 per cent of companies with 25 to 99 employees provided training, up from 65 per cent in 2012.

Singapore National Employers Federation executive director Koh Juan Kiat said the enhancement of government-driven schemes such as Workfare Training Support could have contributed to the rise.

Association of Small and Medium Enterprises president Kurt Wee said: "Businesses have also stopped aggressive hiring and are looking instead at how to enhance the current workforce in terms of skill-sets, to mitigate the cost issues which they are facing."

Building solutions developer Builders Hub has about 95 per cent of its workers attend structured training in areas such as signalling, excavation and the driving of Class 4 vehicles.

Its managing director, Ms Melanie Lim, said: "For our workers, picking up skills on the job is not good enough. Safety comes first. By going through the proper channels, they learn more."

Credit analyst Melvin Lee took time off work to attend an intensive, 10-week commercial risk analysis programme in New York, under training provided by his employer, Citi Commercial Bank.

Said the 29-year-old: "The training provided me with a global perspective, allowing me to learn best practices from other regions."

The training survey was conducted by MOM's Research and Statistics Department from March to May. It polled 3,900 private sector companies with a total of nearly 1.2 million employees.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 06, 2015, with the headline 'Structured training gets the nod from firms'. Print Edition | Subscribe