The one constant in the economy is that it is constantly changing. Due to the acceleration of digitalisation and technological advancement, coupled with shifting industrial trends and unforeseen disasters like a global pandemic, today’s economy presents ever-evolving needs and challenges that look vastly different from what we are used to. This translates into major gaps within the industry, gaps that are simply waiting to be filled.

Retraining and Upskilling: The Answer to the Growing Skills Gap

The skill gap is a growing issue across all industries. According to Gartner, the total number of skills required for a single job has been increasing by 10 per cent year-over-year since 2017. As a result, this amounts to 58 per cent of the workforce requiring new skill sets to be successful at their jobs. 

The benefits of upskilling and retraining opportunities extend beyond the personal. The perceived plentiful growth opportunities will naturally boost employee engagement, morale, and retention. By creating a supportive work environment that empowers, companies can enjoy a low turnover rate and, in turn, reduce the crippling cost of losing an employee.

Leveraging the Benefits

Making opportunities to upskill and retrain available does not only help the employees widen their breadth of skills and improve their employability, but such benefits can also be visible at an organisational level. By promoting a culture of lifelong learning, companies can offer prospective and existing employees growth opportunities, diversifying their career pathways. 

Establishing Strategies

The task of upskilling your employees can be quite an undertaking, but with an effective multifaceted strategy, your company can reap the benefits of a solid upskilling and retraining programme. Here are a few key areas worth considering:

1. Identifying Priority Areas and Skills

While it is true that upskilling and retraining are inherently beneficial for all employees, you should also be mindful of your company’s goals and objectives. By doing so, you will gain clarity on which of the areas and skills offer the highest return on your investment, allowing you to prioritise those sectors when setting up an effective plan. 

Do note that an upskilling and retraining programme can vary from learning a new skill on top of the ones your employees already possess or a complete job redesign, which may encompass an entirely new set of job responsibilities and expectations. To determine where on the spectrum you should aim for, always refer to your goals, available resources as well as your employees’ capacities.

2. Enrolling Your Employees in Training and Retraining Programmes

To increase employees’ skills and their understanding of work scopes, on-the-job training is essential. When it comes to certain skills, nothing can substitute formal training. Companies can look into courses specially designed for professional development, whether in the technical area such as machine learning or development in soft skills like leadership training. 

You may want to look into sophisticated learning experiences tailored to your employees’ strengths, weaknesses, and interests. Since a one-size-fits-all approach to workplace development may be counterproductive, opting for a strategy that assesses and acknowledges employees’ specific skill sets, technological fluency, and learning approach can better address and fill the skill gaps that your company may have.

3. Utilising Upskilling and Retraining Schemes

Retraining and upskilling can incur high costs, which will only snowball with every employee you decide to enrol in such programmes. To alleviate this financial burden, consider the following retraining schemes:

Enhanced Training Support for SMEs: SMEs can stand to enjoy higher course subsidies in the form of SkillsFuture funding of up to 90% of the course fees when they sponsor their employees to attend courses supported by SkillsFuture Singapore.

Career Conversion Programmes (CCP): For those within the PMET sector looking for a career switch, this grant offers

amounts of up to $6,000 per month to eligible companies as salary support, and up to 90% subsidy for course fees. 

There are three modes of CCPs you can leverage, but the Redeployment/Job Redesign (JR) Reskilling mode is specifically designed for businesses that are undergoing major transformations which put their existing PMET employees at risk of redundancy. This CCP mode will allow your PMETs to partake in reskilling training to prepare them for new or redesigned job roles within the same company.

Building a Prepared Workforce

In order to meet the demands of the ever-changing economy, companies will need to adapt in tandem to these changes by ensuring that their employees have the necessary skills to keep up.

The SBF Sustainable Employment (SE) initiative calls on the Singapore business community to take purposeful action to improve their SE practices in anticipation of emergent trends and future developments. Singapore Business Federation launched this initiative with a report that highlights key recommendations and potential opportunities for businesses to take on to achieve long-term business success and foster a vibrant economy and inclusive society.

Make the pledge to join others in this journey.