Learning & Development Asia 2024 Singapore
How Singapore evaluates occupations for its COMPASS Shortage Occupation List

How Singapore evaluates occupations for its COMPASS Shortage Occupation List

Evaluations will be based on three criteria, including the sector’s commitment to developing the local pipeline to address these shortages.

Addressing a recent Parliamentary question, Singapore's Minister of Manpower Dr Tan See Leng has provided more insight into key considerations and matrices used to decide the Complementarity Assessment Framework (COMPASS) Shortage Occupation List (SOL).

Particularly, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) evaluate SOL occupations based on three criteria:

  1. The strategic importance of the occupation to Singapore’s economic priorities;
  2. The degree and nature of labour shortage, and
  3. The sector’s commitment to developing the local pipeline to address these shortages.

Labour shortages are assessed based on a set of quantitative indicators, derived from MOM’s Job Vacancy Survey, and data from the MyCareersFuture job portal on job applications and vacancies. MOM further supplements this with qualitative assessments from the relevant sector agencies, alongside feedback, and ground sensing from industry and tripartite partners.

"Altogether, this provides a good degree of triangulation, and MOM and MTI with a fuller understanding of labour market shortage conditions in the respective industries."

Minister Tan also affirmed that the SOL does not stand alone as a strategy to meet industry demands for skilled professionals. While it does help companies access foreign professionals to plug immediate skills gaps and seize economic opportunities, it must also be complemented by robust industry efforts to train and place locals into these jobs. Hence, he stressed the need for clear plans, and clear commitments by the industry to develop the local pipeline, or else the occupation will not be included in the SOL.

Minister Tan also shared more on efforts to track companies' commitments to developing the local pipeline, noting that MOM and MTI work closely with sector agencies to set commitments around local training and employment at the aggregate occupation level. Rather than mandating fixed commitments for each firm, sector agencies have the flexibility to work closely with firms, industry partners, and education and training providers on plans to train and employ more locals with these skills in shortage.

"MOM ensures that these commitments are met, as a key condition for renewing an occupation on the SOL."

In that vein, MOM also regularly review the SOL to ensure it remains responsive to changes in the labour market, including taking into account the local graduate pipelines.

The ministries will also continue to closely monitor indicators of shortage for each occupation, and will also track local graduate outcomes for the SOL occupations. The SOL will be reset every three years, with the intention to adjust it annually to add or remove occupations if there are significant changes in industry demand or supply of skilled workers.

As Minister Tan explained, this will help to avoid entrenching dependencies on EP holders in any occupation.

Catch up on HRO's previous COMPASS updates:

A comprehensive guide to Singapore's new COMPASS scoring system for EP applications & renewals

Singapore's COMPASS system will allow firms to better select complementary EP holders, assures MOM

Why years of experience isn't a COMPASS criterion for EP applicants: Singapore's MOM

- Singapore's COMPASS system: Bonus criteria details released ahead of 1 Sep roll-out

Singapore employers directed to work with verified background screening providers for COMPASS educational qualification checks


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