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Most critical core skills to equip Singapore's workforce with

Most critical core skills to equip Singapore's workforce with

Self-management, influence, and creative thinking have emerged as the top three most-demanded skills, according to a survey of individuals in Singapore.

Core skills are crucial for individuals to remain relevant and adaptable in the workforce, especially in a volatile employment landscape.

For a better view of the landscape today, a study by the Institute for Adult Learning (IAL) looked into the top three most demanded core skills based on self-assessment amongst over 2,000 employed Singapore residents between the ages of 20 and 70 surveyed:

  • self-management
  • influence
  • creative thinking 

Conversely, global perspective, building inclusivity, and developing people came out as the three least important.

Overall, the Critical Core Skills Profiling survey focused on the critical core skills (CCS) identified by SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG), which consists of 16 soft skills grouped into three clusters. The purpose of the CCS was to establish a common skills language for individuals, employers, and training providers, which can aid in recognising skills and designing training programmes for career development.

At the same time, the CCS aims to promote deep skills development for a lean workforce, enhance business competitiveness, and support employment and employability.

Beyond the demographics of individuals, IAL’s survey questionnaire also looked into the importance and self-efficacy (confidence) in using the critical core skills by converting SkillsFuture Singapore’s CCS framework into different task statements as survey items.

For this study, IAL grouped all occupations into seven different work contexts or clusters based on the common core skills utilised within each cluster:

Frontliners

Frontliners require a high level of customer engagement in daily work.

Most important critical core skills:

  1. Self-management
  2. Customer orientation
  3. Influence

Critical core skills to develop: After controlling for skill importance and demographics, in this cluster, no critical core skill was identified for development.

Nurturers

Nurturers require strong interpersonal and emotional labour.

Most important critical core skills:

  1. Self-management
  2. Creative thinking
  3. Communication 

Critical core skills to develop:

  1. Adaptability
  2. Problem-solving
  3. Building inclusivity
  4. Sense-making
  5. Communication
  6. Creative thinking 
  7. Develop people 
  8. Influence

Dealmakers

Dealmakers require synthesis of information and insights across a variety of sources and contexts, managing demands, and decision-making and problem-solving capabilities.

Most important critical core skills:

  1. Transdisciplinary thinking
  2. Problem-solving 
  3. Decision-making

Critical core skills to develop:

  1. Building inclusivity 
  2. Digital fluency
  3. Influence 
  4. Problem-solving

Wayfinders

Wayfinders ensure the smooth operation of businesses and organisations.

Most important critical core skills:

  1. Customer orientation
  2. Self-management
  3. Communication

Critical core skills to develop:

  1. Building inclusivity 
  2. Digital fluency
  3. Influence 
  4. Problem-solving

Managers

Managers work across multiple stakeholders to coordinate the delivery of services and solutions.

Most important critical core skills:

  1. Self-management
  2. Collaboration
  3. Digital fluency

Critical core skills to develop:

This cluster reported significantly low confidence in creative thinking, and felt challenged to find and test new ways of doing things.

Administrators

Administrators create better solutions and enhance work processes and productivity.

Most important critical core skills:

  1. Self-management
  2. Creative thinking
  3. Problem-solving

Critical core skills to develop:

This cluster reported significantly low confidence in self-management. Particularly, they faced challenges in managing stress.

Analysers

Analysers require strong cognitive skills to create value. Their decisions have a major impact on the organisation.

Most important critical core skills:

  1. Sense-making
  2. Decision-making
  3. Problem-solving

Critical core skills to develop: After controlling for skill importance and demographics, in this cluster, no critical core skill was identified for development.

Commenting on the above-mentioned skills and the need for these skills, Bi Xiaofang, Senior Researcher, IAL, noted that in today's rapidly evolving employment landscape it is not enough to just focus on technical or hard skills.

"As Singapore adopts a dynamic posture in lifelong learning, it is critical that we also look into the development of critical core skills to support our workforce transformation.

"These soft skills are essential in helping the workforce remain adaptable, agile, and competitive amid changing work environments. While technical skills are important, core skills play a huge role in career development and business growth and therefore cannot be overlooked."


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Lead image /  Critical Core Skills Profiling survey

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