How Has the Employment Landscape Evolved in Singapore over the Years?

How Has the Employment Landscape Evolved in Singapore over the Years?

How Has the Employment Landscape Evolved in Singapore over the Years?

Our world is nothing like what it was in 1988. You can’t realistically have the approach that your parents had back find job and making a suitable career for yourself. That’s not merely because we have more job categories and job priorities. This is also a result of the cultural, economic, and technological change that brought us here.

It is observing that the older members of our workforce are more likely to value job security. And that used to show back when people used to prefer fixed schedules, keep their jobs for longer periods. The younger crop is more likely to prefer flexibility at work and switches jobs. What we have witnessed is people are more likely to experience career transitions across companies, profiles, and industries more often. Much of this has to do with the changing employment landscape in Singapore, where new types of jobs are emerging, existing jobs are getting remodelled, and some of this change is because of the factors we spoke about previously.

What Has Been Happening?

The economy has been steadily growing and unemployment remains consistently low. But, the employment landscape in Singapore remains consistently muddy. For instance, how do you explain a phenomenon where companies are letting go of their employees while grappling with a lack of skilled workers at the same time? Much of this has to do with the rise and fall of individual industries and sectors. Yes, while some sectors are slowing down, others are catching up and growing exponentially.

The Singapore government has identified this trend and it is attempting to direct the workforce to sectors that have a greater capacity for growth. With programmes such as Professional Conversion Programmes (PCPs) and Workforce Singapore’s (WSG). The government attempts to train a workforce with essential skills that they require to better contribute to job scope. These programmes can also be used by those members of the workforce that are attempting to make a mid-career switch. It is becoming more and more common, in case you’re wondering.


The present state of technological disruption is such that no education system is capable of keeping up with it. Let’s think about it this way: a student currently receives roughly 15-20 years of education that arguably doesn’t prepare them for a job that changes with each passing technological innovation and trend. The solution to this problem, as identified by the government, is through merging education and employment to provide seamless transition. A part of this is because companies aren’t as willing to incur training costs. Now, with the concept of ‘lifelong learning’, it will not be out of the ordinary for an employee to constantly go through another session of relearning, retraining, and reskilling.

Herald by the Ministry of Education, all Singaporeans over the age of 25 is hand 500 dollars for any course of their preference. These courses are conducting by several training providers spread across the country. Although the programme is as overly broad, it is responsible for bringing about a cultural change by re-emphasising the importance of skill development and learning.

With life learning, the final piece in the puzzle may well be job-specific training. It’s important to get companies on board to help train employees according to the needs of companies and their own job profiles. And, this is the crux of the Industry Transformation Programme, which sits with a funding of $4.5 billion. The final result of these trends and initiatives is that there’s a high likelihood that we’re moving towards an employment landscape in Singapore that rewards specialisation, and the skills that a specialist yields.

Welcome to the Gig Economy

While the unemployment rate in Singapore remains consistently low, what this low unemployment rate can’t tell you is about the changing approach taken towards work. There’s an emerging trend that indicates that people are moving away from their traditional full-time work profiles in the search of a part-time work, freelance work, and temporary work instead. And, this trend can witness on a global level. Now, freelancing in itself is not a bad thing. Not unless employees are forced to consider freelancing as a means of survival because of the unavailability of jobs. But, doesn’t seem to be the case when consider that 82% of freelancers in Singapore because of their own will. This figure tallies with the low unemployment rate in Singapore (2.1%).

So, as long as the labour market remains flexible and responsive, we can expect the employment landscape in Singapore to remain in good shape with these noticeable trends. Only, with the future in mind, our education system needs to empower the next crop to adjust to this altered landscape by promoting an upgrade of skills alongside the concept of lifelong learning. But, the concept of gig economy through digital platforms must not be discouraged.

Preparing for a Changing Future

When we have all the tools that we need in the form of comprehensive research and data, we have the means to anticipate the shape of things to come and we can prepare accordingly. The reality of today’s arrangement is that all our social and economic policies are tailored according to the benefit of the traditional employee-employer arrangement. Having basic worker protections and safety nets for the benefit of freelancers would be a step in the right direction. Our policies and provisions must change accordingly to the changing employment landscape in Singapore.

Developing skills according to the requirements of the job and picking narrowly centred jobs where an employee can specialise seems to be the way forward. With automation waiting at the gates, we must do all that we can do to remain employable in industries that have some semblance of a future.

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Good explanation about employment evolution in Singapore.
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