Amid Struggle to Fill Job Vacancies, Companies Remain Sluggish in Sending Employees for Upskilling

  • 78% of business leaders who report having
    vacant job roles are facing challenges in filling these vacancies at their
    companies.
  • However, only half (51%) of business leaders say
    they have sent their workers for training in the past six months.
  • Unionised companies (57%) are more likely to have
    sent their workers for training in the past six months, as compared to
    non-unionised companies (37%).

SINGAPORE – Media OutReach – 22 December 2021 – Workforce learning has become increasingly
crucial to help maintain economic productivity by improving workforce competencies.
However, only half (51%) of business leaders say they have sent their workers
for training in the past six months. In addition, many (78%) business leaders who
report having vacant job roles are facing challenges in filling these vacancies
at their companies.

These
were some of the key findings from a recent labour research on the
Continuing Education and Training (CET): Now and What Could Be Next
, by the
National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) Strategy, in partnership with NTUC
LearningHub (NTUC LHUB). The research surveyed a total of 564 business leaders
across industries in Singapore, such as Manufacturing, Information and
Communications, Financial and Insurance Services, Wholesale and Retail Trade,
and Professional Services.

Business
leaders (63%) reveal that skills mismatch is the most prevalent form of
mismatches, as compared to wages mismatch (17%), experience mismatch (18%), and
expectations mismatch (2%). The top three industries most concerned about
skills mismatch are public administration, real estate services, and wholesale
and retail trade.

The
top challenge for business leaders to send their workers for training is
financial costs (38%), followed by difficulties in identifying relevant courses
(37%), and matching employees to training (33%). To encourage them to send
their workers for training, business leaders say that provision of higher
training subsidies (73%) and business consultancy services (55%) would serve as
incentives.

 

In
view of the demand for higher training subsidies, three in four (75%) of
business leaders say that they have participated in training-related
initiatives by the Government, or Labour Movement. However, the overall
utilisation of initiatives remains low at an average of 14%. It is therefore
plausible that with the wide variety of training-related initiatives targeted
at helping employers, most are unsure of which initiative would best address
their concerns.

NTUC
will continue to offer support through its Training & Placement (T&P)
ecosystem to help companies better access and leverage these initiatives.
Unions (17.9%) remain one of the top three avenues where business leaders have
heard of training-related initiatives, with the others being Human Resource
Departments in the company (27.5%) and Government websites (25.9%).

In
addition, it was uncovered that unionised companies are more likely to invest
in training for their workers. Out of the business leaders who sent their
employees for training in the past six months, 57% were unionised companies
while 37% were non-unionised companies.
Commenting
on the findings, NTUC Deputy Secretary-General Chee Hong Tat says, “Expanding
the role of the Labour Movement in the national training ecosystem is crucial
to shape continuing education and training (CET) for workers. The Labour
Movement will continue to work closely with government agencies, employers, Institutes
of Higher Learning (IHLs) and CET providers to identity current and future
in-demand skills and address the quality and impact of training programmes in
relation to workers’ skills gaps. We encourage employers to work with NTUC, be
it through Company Training Committees or the newly-launched Learning eXperience
Platform (LXP), and to tap on the resources available at NTUC’s Training and Placement
ecosystem to strengthen their enterprise and workforce capabilities.”

NTUC
LHUB’s Chief Executive Officer, Jeremy Ong, says, “One of the ways to overcome
the challenge of filling job vacancies is to upskill and uplift current
employees, as building on existing talents is more cost-effective than hiring
new talents. At NTUC LearningHub, we support business leaders by driving human-centric
company transformation through outcomes-focused training. Existing employees know
the business the best, in terms of company goals, values, policies and even culture,
so the transition will be less disruptive. More importantly, employees will
feel empowered to step up and contribute more to the organisation through expanding
their know-hows in technical and technology skills. Therefore, career and
skills development through training is a key employee value proposition as it
demonstrates companies’ vested interest in the long-haul, to learn and grow
together.”

 

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