Speaking recently, Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic Policy, Heng Swee Keat, acknowledges that almost all other professions will eventually have shades of “green”, because green literacy, like literacy digital, could become a necessary skill for future professions.
“Over the past decade, the digital wave has taken hold of us in a big way. The digital economy is now a key driver of growth,” the Deputy Prime Minister said. “We have to keep an eye on the next wave of skills. We must not only equip people to meet today’s labor market demands, but also prepare them for the future.
He added that several digital technology companies have sprung up, leading to the creation of many good jobs and professions, some of which were previously unknown. Many jobs now require basic digital skills and many hawkers and small businesses have gone digital.
There are more waves on the way, according to the Deputy Prime Minister. The green wave is one such developing trend and sustainability is an emerging growth driver that is gaining momentum, but there is still a long way to go before the government can achieve its net zero goals.
In the years to come, green talent will continue to be defined and developed, and it may take some time before a greater choice of training paths and appropriate salary premiums emerge. Thus, more and more companies are actively greening their processes and investing in sustainable technologies. Green collar jobs are growing in popularity. Some belong to more established sectors such as sustainable finance and solar management. Some are in new areas like hydrogen and tidal architecture.
The green wave has immense promise. As the green economy evolves, attempts to acquire green skills will be iterative. However, by learning from how the global workforce has responded to the digital wave, workers may be able to better adapt to the green wave and future waves.
Moreover, each stakeholder must work together to achieve better livelihoods, a more dynamic economy and a more sustainable environment. Businesses, workers and governments all have a stake in each other’s success. Successful companies create better jobs for their employees, while businesses can thrive with the help of skilled and motivated employees.
Singapore’s model of collaborative tripartism is an important catalyst for economic agility and development. Unions are taking a progressive approach, defending workers’ rights while engaging with companies to help them transform and upskill their employees. The government is investing heavily in education, giving children and young people a solid foundation and thirst for knowledge, and providing workers with lifelong learning opportunities through SkillsFuture.
In a tight labor market, the government’s ability to upskill and retrain people will determine the rate of growth. Over the past decade, they’ve laid the foundation for their workforce, creating multiple paths to advancement and expanding training options in every industry and profession.
Singapore has made a concerted effort to better protect vulnerable workers and has focused on developing mature workers who still have many years to offer. By learning from the past and from each other, the government could soon prepare the country’s workforce for new waves of skills.
Digitization is exploding beyond anyone’s wildest dreams. Individuals and businesses have turned to the internet, creating new opportunities while disrupting old ones. Businesses are pivoting to capture new growth and individuals are equipped to function in a more digital world. With the digital economy, the prospects for businesses to grow and employees to earn a better life are both achievable.