The employment rate of residents aged 55-64 in Singapore increased to 67% in 2016. Singapore has one of the most experienced workforces in the world, but it is aging more rapidly each year. This shift in the average age of its workforce is beginning to have other workforce related repercussions. While this is both an inspiring and unique phenomenon, it isn’t without its challenges, including a seven-year low in the unemployment rate, and a skills mismatch that results in an inability to fill more positions requiring a higher level of technical skill with older workers.
Efforts to restructure into a productivity-led growth model coupled with a slowing economy have made it more difficult for job seekers to find work. The adoption of new technologies has taken priority over attracting the migrant workers that this nation once depended on. This has left many workers fearing the loss of their current engagement to further automation in the hardest hit industries such as construction, hospitality and manufacturing.
While Singapore is making this transition from needing more workers to fill lower-earning jobs to using automation and artificial intelligence to increase productivity, organizations may find it difficult to retain talent and up-skill existing workers to contribute to the success of the organization in a different way in the future. As one of the most expensive global labor markets, Singapore is often quickly dismissed as a potential market for expansion. However, regarding regulatory flexibility, availability of skilled talent and high productivity, it may be worth consideration for organizations where the cost would be justified by business priorities and program strategy.