Talent & Tech Asia Summit 2024
Singapore Budget 2024: HR leaders share what's on their wishlist

Singapore Budget 2024: HR leaders share what's on their wishlist

From more focused support for upskilling, to increased funding for research projects, here's what six leaders are looking out for.

Singapore's economy is expected to grow by 1%-3% in 2024, according to the Ministry of Trade and Industry's estimates. At the same time, the business environment is likely to face headwinds over the next 12 months, as noted by Ng Chee Meng, Secretary-General of the National Trades Union Congress.

Keeping these in mind, companies are being pushed to take on new strategies and measures to take both their workforce and their businesses to further — in a bid to stay ahead of the curve. With the Singapore Budget 2024 set to be delivered in Parliament on Friday (16 February 2024), the team at HRO reached out to HR leaders in the country to find out what has come out top on their wishlist for the Budget, to provide greater support as they plan their business priorities ahead.

From more focused support for upskilling, to increased funding for research projects, here's what six leaders are looking out for.

Rachel Chen, Head of General Management Office, J&T Express Singapore

In 2023, we were heartened to see government support for the logistics industry in Singapore to address new demands in global supply chains.

Stepping into 2024, we hope to see continued support for workforce training and transformation for labour-oriented and high-growth sectors like logistics, as companies navigate manpower challenges.

At J&T Express Singapore, we prioritise upskilling our workforce through embracing automation to enhance operational efficiency. Thus, with the support of government bodies, we aim to reinforce current resource optimisation measures and further strengthen the resilience of our supply chains.

Mukul Anand, Head of HR, HSBC Singapore (pictured above, far right)

HSBC Singapore's wish list centres on the themes of inclusivity and global talent development. We hope that more support can be given to companies through the SkillsFuture initiative to upskill and reskill mature workers in up-and-coming sectors such as digital and sustainability.

As an international bank, we are able to provide our employees with international mobility opportunities. We believe that more can be done with our overseas Singaporean networks to promote international exposure for Singaporean mid-career talents to create a globally competitive workforce.

Lynette Lim, HR Director, Transport Capital (pictured above, centre)

As part of a sustainable business, I'm hoping that the Budget 2024 will provide a dedicated fund designed to champion sustainable practices within the office such as upgrades to energy-efficient appliances and installing cutting-edge recycling facilities. Alongside this, another crucial aspect would be providing accessible employee education.

As there are currently limited providers and courses, coupled with diverse corporate priorities, it often results in insufficient uptake, leading to class cancellations. The bonus would be if this fund covers courses that can be tailored to companies for it to be run in-house (for both SMEs and larger organisations).

Joey Kwek, Head of Division, HR & Corporate Services, Senoko Energy (pictured above, far left)

With the energy sector accounting for 40% of the nation's carbon emissions, Budget 2024 presents an opportunity to increase funding to expedite research and implementation of hydrogen and its derivatives as one of the cleaner sources of fuel for power generation. Additionally, research pertaining to carbon capture technology, the use of bio methane, and the production of renewable energy are imperative.

Equally important is to support the fostering of an innovative culture, the ability to think out of the box and the courage to challenge the status quo among our workforce. Such attributes are vital in our energy transition journey.

Elaine Ooi, Vice-President of People, Qashier

Qashier’s mission is to support SMEs and help them to be ready for the digital economy by equipping them with powerful point-of-sale and payment solutions. Through pairing technology and strong commitment to merchant success, Qashier helps SMEs to streamline and scale operations in an affordable way.

Budget 2024 is an opportunity to address the key challenges faced by Singaporean SMEs, and Qashier would like to see initiatives that help these businesses grow and thrive in the years to come.

Tech talent acquisition and reskilling:
Enhancing the local tech talent pool through upskilling and career-switching initiatives is crucial for the growth of the local tech industry. We hope to see more support in this area to ensure that Singapore has a skilled workforce ready to drive innovation and growth.

Regulatory support:
Streamlining regulatory processes and providing go-to-market support can significantly ease the burden on startups and SMEs, making it easier for businesses to navigate regulatory requirements and may see businesses experience faster growth during the critical early stage.

Financial assistance for SMEs:
We hope to see more financial assistance programmes, grants, loans, and subsidies, that allow SMEs to invest in technology that grows their businesses and supports team expansion. SMEs that adopt business productivity solutions, including hardware and software, can help them streamline traditional fragmented processes as well as enable automation to address manpower shortages. With technology investment, SMEs can then focus on growth and expansion.

Qashier is doing its part to support SMEs through initiatives like the Qashier Support Package (QSP), which helps SMEs digitalise their operations without breaking the bank. Additionally, Qashier's solutions are designed to cater to businesses at all stages, offering a low barrier of entry for digitalisation.

Sukhdeep Singh, Director of People, foodpanda Singapore

Budget 2023 saw a focus on upskilling and reskilling to ensure that our workforce remains resilient despite a challenging economic outlook. This year, we hope to see continued support from the Government for upskilling by increasing learning accessibility to all, while helping businesses to prioritise employee development. 
At foodpanda Singapore, we have always encouraged our employees to continually upskill themselves while giving them opportunities to pursue fields of interest within any facet of our business. We want to empower all our people to not just keep up, but thrive in today’s ever changing landscape.  
With added support from the Government, we will be able to do even more to provide opportunities and tools for professional growth, as well as develop budding tech talents. 

ALSO READ: Ahead of Budget 2024, here’s what employers and workers in Singapore should know

Photos: Provided

Follow us on Telegram and on Instagram @humanresourcesonline for all the latest HR and manpower news from around the region!

Free newsletter

Get the daily lowdown on Asia's top Human Resources stories.

We break down the big and messy topics of the day so you're updated on the most important developments in Asia's Human Resources development – for free.

subscribe now open in new window