November 20, 2023
SINGAPORE – Demand for skills in the digital and care sectors is expected to increase in the next two years, an annual report released on Nov 17 shows.
For the first time, the Skills Demand for the Future Economy report highlighted 24 top job skills that are expected to grow in demand, based on prediction modelling, a technique used to anticipate future demand.
These include care economy skills such as effective client communication, as well as digital economy skills such as qualitative analysis and software design. These skills were also highlighted for being highly transferable across sectors and job roles.
Industry 4.0 skills, which refer to using automation and smart solutions to improve processes in manufacturing, were also featured in this forecast.
Such skills, ranging from process engineering design to technical writing, which requires communicating complex information, are expected to be in increasing demand over the next two years.
This is the third edition of the report published by SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG), having studied job posting data between 2012 and 2022.
The report also provides citizens with updated information on skills that have remained in high demand over the past decade and career pathways for specific jobs.
Minister of State for Education and Manpower Gan Siow Huang launched the latest report at an event held at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre on Nov 17.
She said that individuals will be able to make informed decisions by using the report as they plan their skills journey to achieve long-term career goals.
She added that mid-career transitions will become more common as people move within and across job sectors.
“To support mid-career transition into sectors with good hiring opportunities, SSG has been working with training providers to ramp up the number of SkillsFuture Career Transition Programmes,” said Ms Gan.
She added that to date, there are about 180 courses addressing the care, digital and green sectors.
Together with the report, SSG has made available online, for the first time, the data used in its analyses for individuals to gain personalised job insights.
Despite the rapidly changing jobs landscape, SSG said, some skills have remained highly relevant for the past 10 years. For example, communication has consistently been ranked as the most in-demand skill, alongside four other top core skills – creative thinking, collaboration, problem-solving and self-management.
Similar to the last two editions, the latest report spotlights the care, digital and green economies as they continue to be key growth areas.
Although skills in the green economy were not included in the forecasting analysis, their growth has been consistent in the past two years.
Green skills such as carbon footprint management – to measure and reduce the amount of greenhouse gases emitted – will be increasingly sought after by employers, with the implementation of climate-related disclosures for some organisations from 2025.
Environmental and social governance is also one of the fastest-growing skills in the green sector and required for more than 500 job roles in 2022. These include internal auditors, business valuation managers and product managers.
Ms Gan said institutes of higher learning have doubled the number of green-related courses supported by SSG to nearly 500 in 2023, up from about 250 last year.
She said: “With clearer demand signals in the report, we also need training providers to respond by offering quality skills training programmes that can cater to a variety of learners.”
Ms Lee Sze Yeng, managing partner at KPMG in Singapore, said that with the rapid pace of technological innovations, knowing which skills will be in demand enables individuals to prepare for the changing nature of work and skills.
“By acquiring the right skills, individuals can support the development of industries and sectors projected to experience growth, such as sustainable finance and urban farming, among others,” she added.
Meanwhile, Singapore’s ageing population has led to an increase in demand for care services, said the report. There is higher demand for social support services and mental wellness initiatives at organisations, for instance.
The report also shows that given the digitalisation of the Singapore economy, employers increasingly need digital and technology solutions. These include software or applications that help employees complete tasks better and faster.
In particular, the lack of digital talent and high adoption costs pose challenges for small and medium-sized enterprises, said SSG.
At the same time, people in tech-heavy job roles, such as artificial intelligence (AI) engineers, need to regularly keep up with the latest trends to remain relevant in their roles, the agency added.
Associate Professor of Information Technology Damien Joseph said that the forecasting of digital skills expected to grow in the next two years is useful for information technology professionals who are looking to move between job roles, or for newcomers wanting to join the sector.
The academic from the Nanyang Technological University’s Nanyang Business School (NBS) said: “This is also good for potential entrants. For example, polytechnic and junior college students who are exploring careers in the digital sector will be thinking about what to read in the university to prepare them for their careers.”
Prof Joseph, who is also NBS’ associate dean for undergraduate education, said the next wave of digital transformation is the automation of decision-making through AI.
“So folks in the current digital economy may want to think of upskilling in areas where AI technologies have been put in place.”
24 top skills according to the forecast
1. Continuous improvement management
2. Practice supervision
3. Effective client communication
4. Staff continuous learning
5. Ethical and professional integrity
6. Staff communication and engagement
Industry 4.0 and others
1. Process engineering design
2. Material management
3. Technical writing
4. Workplace safety and health management
5. Equipment and systems testing
6. Process development management
7. Quality systems
1. Programming and coding
2. System configuration management
3. Business requirements mapping
4. Qualitative analysis
5. Software testing
6. Embedded systems programming
7. Information collection
8. Sales channel management
9. Product development
10. Market research
11. Software design