Skills transfer and inclusive HR practices key to Singapore's growth

Another 56 employers have been appointed as Human Capital Partners for their commitment to progressive HR practices.

With Singapore expected to be hardest hit in Asia by an ageing population and low birth rates, the key for the country in ensuring future economic growth lies in companies becoming more innovative, productive and inclusive in their workplace practices, said Minister of Manpower Lim Swee Say, at the latest Human Capital Partnership quarterly update held on October 10.

This is why the latest batch of 56 companies that have been appointed as Human Capital Partners is an encouraging sign for the Singapore economy.

Some of these companies include AirAsia (Singapore), BreadTalk Group, Capitaland Group, Changi Airport Group, Citi Singapore, Gardens by the Bay, Metro, Jurong Port, Siemens and Standard Chartered Bank.

This brings the total number of Human Capital Partners so far to 130, employing some 130,000 Singaporeans between them and forming more than 5% of the total local workforce.

Not only innovative, but also inclusive

The Human Capital Partnership Programme, launched in November last year, recognises employers committed to growing their businesses through progressive employment practices.

“We have to make sure our future economy will not only be more innovative and our future workforce more productive, but our future growth must also be more inclusive,” says Lim.

"The goal of the programme is to encourage fair employers to become progressive."

Lim cites Citibank as one company that practises inclusivity. The bank offers an Earn and Learn programme, 12-week internships and five-month mentorships, to train and groom local university students and fresh graduates.

Gardens by the Bay, also a new programme partner, is another example of an inclusive employer. To be more inclusive of older workers, the nature park hired John Loh five years ago, at the age of 72 as a procurement executive, promoted him to procurement manager at the age of 75, and senior procurement manager again this year at the age of 77.

With Singapore set to experience a “massive decline” in working-age population by 2036, Lim says these companies help to set the pace for progressive HR practices and strengthen Singapore’s workforce.

As a recently-published report from Oxford Economics revealed, Singapore will see a greater drop than countries like China, South Korea and Hong Kong, which have already “adjusted and responded to (demographic changes), to varying degrees”.

“Our resident working-age population is projected to stagnate by around 2025, a reversal from the 1.3% annualised growth from 2005 to 2015,” says Lim.

As a result, he says that the only way forward for Singapore is to “find ways to ensure that (its) future economic growth can be higher than (its) future manpower growth”.

Closing capability gaps through overseas exchange 

But in order to achieve this, it is pivotal that organisations continue to build new and better capabilities, so as to be better and faster than other countries.

“The transformation we are going through in Singapore is not local and unique to us, but affects many developed and developing economies globally,” says Lim.

“My concern is that if we allow our ‘cheaper’ competitors to transform ‘faster’ and become ‘better’ than us, our future will be at risk.”

Lim adds how Singapore was so successful in the past because it was able to “learn fast and move fast” by embracing an “eclectic mindset”.

In line with this thinking, the Ministry of Manpower has piloted a Capability Transfer Programme that will allow Singapore companies and their workers to learn skills and knowledge they are lacking from foreign partners.

This initiative will provide funding for salary and training for both foreign and local trainers, and local trainees by between 30% and 90%. It will also fund on-the-job training overseas.

“We have to build new capabilities that will be in greater demand in the future but are currently lacking or in short supply here, as quickly as possible,” says Lim.

He identifies interior furnishing, food manufacturing, furniture and automobile manufacturing as industries that will stand to benefit from the knowledge exchange.

“It is simply not possible for any economy, corporation and workforce to be self-sufficient in the fast-changing world of technology, innovation and competition.”

The newest batch of Human Capital Partners are:

AirAsia Berhad (Singapore Branch)

Alcon Manufacturing and Logistics Pte Ltd

Alcon Pte Ltd

AMOS International (S) Pte Ltd

BreadTalk Group Limited

Capitaland Group

Central Express Lines Pte Ltd

Chan Brothers Travel (Pte) Limited

CH2M Hill Singapore Private Limited

Changi Airport Group

Citi Singapore

Everbilt Developers Pte Ltd

Four Points By Sheraton Singapore

Fragomen Singapore Pte Ltd

Fuji SMBE Pte Ltd

Gardens by the Bay

Hong Seafood Pte Ltd

Hope Technik Pte Ltd

Jason Electronics (Pte) Ltd

Jurong Port Pte Ltd

Linear Technology Pte Ltd

Metro (Private) Limited

MP Biomedicals Asia Pacific Pte Ltd

National Skin Centre

Network For Electronic Transfers (Singapore) Pte Ltd

Nexwave Telecoms Pte Ltd

Orchid Hotel Private Limited

Park Hotel Group

PBA International Pte Ltd

Premier Security Co-Operative Ltd

PSA Corporation Limited

Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP

RTP Company (Singapore) Pte Ltd

Seng Hua Hng Foodstuff Pte Ltd

Shimano (Singapore) Private Limited

Shing Leck Engineering Service Pte Ltd

Shopee Singapore Private Limited

Siemens Pte Ltd

Singapore Pools (Private) Limited

Standard Chartered Bank

Tai Sin Electric Limited

The Esplanade Co Ltd

The Swatch Group S.E.A. (S) Pte Ltd

The Travel Corporation (2011) Pte Ltd

The Wok People Pte Ltd

Toagosei Singapore Pte Ltd

Toppan Security Printing Pte Ltd

TTI Electronics Asia Pte Ltd

Vicplas Holdings Pte Ltd

WongPartnership LLP

Yang Kee Logistics Pte Ltd


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