Singapore: A global hub for business and world-class workforce

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With an economic freedom score of 89.4, Singapore’s economy ranks 2nd out of 42 countries in the Asia-Pacific region – and is already benefiting from one of the world’s highest economic freedom levels.

Singapore has reinforced its commitment to continued economic reform. Over the past five years, the comparatively small Asian city economy has sustained efforts to build a world-class financial centre and further open its market to global commerce.

With a highly educated and motivated workforce adding to the economy’s dynamism and resilience, Singapore is well on its way to regional and global leadership.  Workforce development can help the country stay competitive and sustain its growth in years to come.

One of the world’s strongest economies

With a healthy GDP ($348.7 billion) & low unemployment rates (3.1%),

Singapore is one of the world’s most competitive economies.  According to the Ministry of Trade and Industry Singapore, the economy grew by 2.6% on a year-on-year basis, in the first quarter of 2015 – faster than the 2.1% growth in the year prior.

And there are no signs of it slowing down.

With a vision to bring Singapore in a league of its own, the Strategic Economic Plan sets the strategies and programmes to achieve this vision.

Economic dynamism, a high quality of life, a strong national identity and configuring a global city, are all key components of the plan.

Eight strategic actions have been identified to help propel Singapore’s economic and social progress to that of a developed country including:

  1. Enhancing human resources
  2. Promoting national teamwork
  3. Becoming internationally oriented
  4. Creating a conducive climate for innovation
  5. Developing manufacturing and service clusters
  6. Spearheading economic redevelopment
  7. Maintaining international competitiveness
  8. Reducing vulnerability

With substantially lower costs, Singapore has the edge over its competitors in developed countries – making these eight actions achievable and a world-class workforce will be a key driver.

A country investing in their workforce first

Singapore’s workforce is one of the highest in the region in keeping skills up-to-date, ahead of employees in Australia (80%), New Zealand (81%), and Hong Kong (85%).  What’s more, more than nine in 10 (91 per cent) employees in Singapore believe that refreshing their skills and competencies every five years will enhance their employability – according to a recent Randstad study.

This year we’re seeing a major transformation in the way the Singapore workforce is developing, now giving every local the opportunity to reach their full potential.  New courses for both students and adults are on the horizon, to help them acquire deep skills in growth industries – part of a plan driven by the SkillsFuture Council.

“The fundamental change under the sectoral manpower strategy is a much closer integration between economic development and manpower development,” announced Ng Cher Pong, Chief Executive of the Workforce Development Agency.

“We are hoping through this process, it will pull the two much closer together and we have some of the conversations upfront, rather than have the economic development run ahead of the manpower development.”

Linking TVET with economic expansion

An integral part of the national education, Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) trains technicians and skilled personnel for jobs and careers in the major sectors of the economy.

Given an increasing significance in developing more equitable and sustainable societies, Singapore’s TVET model is world-class – praised for its relevance, quality programmes and responsiveness in a fast changing global economy.

Added to that, Singapore is hosting the International TVET Conference this November, bringing together leading specialists from Asia, Europe and USA, who will share strategies for advancing TVET and workforce development.

Singapore’s focus on preparing and upgrading their workforce’s manpower – will help achieve its vision of becoming a global hub for business.  Given their increased emphasis on up-skilling the workforce, Singapore current initiatives coupled with workforce development strategies can help support skills growth to make the country’s vision a reality.

To design workforce strategies for economic growth for your country, industry or region, please contact Wendy Perry via

October 2015


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