Reskilling has emerged as a top priority for professionals in Singapore, says a new report by leading recruitment experts Hays.
The report, titled Uncovering the DNA of the Future Workplace in Asia, surveyed over 9,000 working professionals across Asia firstly in February 2020 and later between September – October 2020. It found that the overwhelming majority of respondents in Singapore regard upskilling as important, to their professional development, with reskilling topping their list of upskilling priorities after digital skills.
This is in line with respondents across Asia, 72 per cent of whom said opportunities for to reskilling had become more important to them following the pandemic outbreak.
Digital skills most desired
The skills gap has been a topic of conversation in Singapore for some time now, as is reflected by 67 per cent of respondents in Singapore saying that increased learning and development opportunities would be a major indicator of an organisation’s future-readiness. A further 88 per cent said upskilling was important/very important to them, with technical skills development (67 per cent) and leadership training (65 per cent) being priority areas pre-pandemic.
Following the outbreak, however, the majority of respondents sad ‘digital skills development’ (84 per cent), reskilling (80 per cent), e-learning (72 per cent) and training in remote leadership (71 per cent) and orientation (68 per cent) was most important to them.
Reskilling is the need of the hour
While digital skills have been in shortage (and demand) for some time now, reskilling is a topic that has seen a resurgence since the pandemic and is in line with the recent spike in Singapore’s unemployment rates. While this can be considered circumstantial, it may also be indicative of a larger trend in line with the rise in hiring of temporary or contracting workers, increased job-hopping and more recent emergences like the gig economy that have made hiring for a cluster of skills more effective than textbook hires.
Employers must bridge the skills gap
Additionally, Singapore implemented extended lockdown measures as compared to the rest of Asia, which along with the proliferation of remote working has exacerbated the need for remote orientation and remote leadership training. E-learning is also a fast-growing space, with schools in the city now looking at incorporating this into their curriculums. For employees, e-learning is increasingly seen as a quick and easy way to upskill and stay competitive in the market. However, the number of employers who offer training in digital skills (29 per cent), reskilling (18 per cent), remote orientation training (32 per cent) and remote leadership training (13 per cent) remains low, with the exception of e-learning (47 per cent).
Grant Torrens, Regional Director for Hays Singapore commented, “Reskilling and upskilling has become an urgent need for employees in Singapore, if they are to stay competitive and relevant in a recession and pandemic-hit world of work. A workplace of the future will and should be hiring based on clusters of skills rather than a traditional on-paper perfect fit, as well as encouraging reskilling as a whole. They could begin doing this by encouraging internal rotations, helping fund skills development programs for employees or simply staying open minded to hiring individuals who have undergone career conversions or been part of the gig-economy. Providing opportunities for reskilling can also build utility and security for employees, contributing to their over wellbeing – which, our research shows, helps also helps them find purpose and meaning in their work.”
About the Report 
The Uncovering the DNA of the Future Workplace report is based on findings from two surveys conducted on more than 4,000 and 5,000 respondents respectively across the five Hays operating markets in Asia: China, Hong Kong SAR, Japan, Malaysia and Singapore; to measure sentiments on the four core elements we believe will shape workplaces of the future: flexibility, technology, upskilling and purpose. The first survey was concluded in February 2020 at the cusp of the pandemic, with the second having concluded in October 2020. By comparing the two surveys, our findings aim to form a definitive understanding of how the pandemic has altered working sentiments, as well as a barometer for organisations as they seek to understand, attract and retain top talent amidst current challenges and those to come.
Download your copy of the full report here.  

About Hays Singapore

Hays Specialist Recruitment Pte Ltd, Singapore ("Hays Singapore") is one of Singapore's leading recruitment companies in recruiting qualified, professional and skilled people across a wide range of industries and professions.

Hays has been in Singapore for over a decade and boasts a track record of success and growth. We operate across the private and public sector, dealing in permanenttemporary and contracting positions in more than 15 different specialisms, including Accountancy & Finance, Banking & Financial Services, Digital Technology, Engineering, Finance Technology, Human Resources, Information Technology, Legal, Life Sciences, Marketing & Digital, Office Professionals, Procurement, Supply Chain and Sales. Hays Singapore was named the “Best Small Workplace” in Singapore in 2019 and 2018, and was ranked fourth “Best Multinational Workplace” in Asia 2020 by Great Place to Work®.


About Hays

Hays plc (the "Group") is a leading global professional recruiting group. The Group is the expert at recruiting qualified, professional and skilled people worldwide, being the market leader in the UK and Australia and one of the market leaders in Continental Europe, Latin America and Asia. The Group operates across the private and public sectors, dealing in permanent positions, contract roles and temporary assignments. As at 30 June 2020 the Group employed c.10,400 staff operating from 266 offices in 33 countries across 20 specialisms. For the year ended 30 June 2020:
- the Group reported net fees of £996.2 million and operating profit (pre-exceptional items) of £135.0 million;
- the Group placed around 66,000 candidates into permanent jobs and around 235,000 people into temporary roles;
- 17% of Group net fees were generated in Australia & New Zealand, 26% in Germany, 23% in United Kingdom & Ireland and 34% in Rest of World (RoW);
- the temporary placement business represented 59% of net fees and the permanent placement business represented 41% of net fees;
- IT is the Group’s largest specialism, with 25% of net fees, while Accountancy & Finance (15%) and Construction & Property (12%), are the next largest
- Hays operates in the following countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UAE, the UK and the USA