Narrowing Singapore’s wage gap and promoting lifelong learning

The Forward Singapore report has advocated respect and fair compensation for every job and a lifelong learning culture for all employees.
By: | October 30, 2023

The Singapore government plans to narrow the wage gap between skilled tradesmen and knowledge-based employees through structured training and career planning. The government will also work with the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), industry associations and institutions of higher learning to help Institute of Technical Education (ITE) graduates upgrade their skills early in their careers.

The plans were outlined in the Forward Singapore report, which said that every job in Singapore must be respected and fairly rewarded and that the government will work to create a culture of lifelong learning beyond grades.

Examples of employees who stand to gain from the wage boost include plumbers, electricians, and those working in the healthcare and aged-care sectors. Recent figures revealed that many of these employees earn less than S$3,000 (US$2,190) monthly, which is below the national median of S$4,500 (US$3,285) for full-time employees.

In addition, Singaporeans who already hold a publicly funded diploma or higher qualification will also get help with obtaining another publicly funded diploma. For the wider workforce, more significant investments will be made to support mature mid-career Singaporeans in pursuing substantive reskilling and upskilling. Employees will also receive a “further, substantial top-up” of the SkillsFuture Credit that is meant to support the learning needs of Singaporeans.

READ MORE: Bridging the wage and skills gap in Singapore

The report also reiterated the government’s plans to continue broadening the definition of merit and creating more diverse pathways in education, such as through exploring the use of adaptive learning technologies and AI.

Tan See Leng, Minister of Manpower, said that the government is focused on empowering individuals to chart their careers and investing in Singaporeans gaining overseas exposure. Other priorities include reducing wage gaps, providing financial support for involuntarily unemployed employees, and ensuring a financially secure retirement for Singaporeans, reported The Straits Times