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Singapore launches Jobs Transformation Map for the food services sector

Singapore launches Jobs Transformation Map for the food services sector

The food services trade associations and chambers will be working with more than 800 companies, which employ approximately 80,000 workers, to transform their jobs in line with the Map.

Companies in the food services sector in Singapore can now benefit from a new Jobs Transformation Map (JTM) launched on Thursday (25 May 2023).

The JTM was developed by Enterprise Singapore in partnership with Ernst & Young, with support from Workforce Singapore, SkillsFuture Singapore, and the Ministry of Manpower. It follows on from the Food Services Industry Transformation Map launched in May last year. 

Through this JTM, the food services trade associations and chambers – namely the Restaurant Association of Singapore, Association of Catering Professionals Singapore, and Singapore Nightlife Business Association – have committed to work with more than 800 of their member companies which employ approximately 80,000 workers, to transform their jobs in line with the Map.

Background and what the JTM entails

In her speech at the Restaurant Asia Opening Ceremony on Thursday, Minister of State for Trade and Industry Low Yen Ling outlined three key trends that are redefining the food services industry, and that will continue to do so in the years to come:

  • The first, is the growing demand for convenience, personalised and experiential services, and sustainable practices, thus providing opportunities for businesses that position themselves to take advantage of these shifts in consumer demand.
  • The second, is greater and faster use of technology, with COVID-19 having sped up the rate of technology adoption in the industry. Companies have widely adopted new digital solutions and automation equipment, especially in central kitchens.
  • The third, is an ageing local workforce and changing career aspirations of the nation's youth, leading to greater competition for workers – thus reinforcing that to remain competitive, companies need to redesign their jobs, encourage greater technology adoption, and explore options such as part-time workers.

In view of these trends, MOS Low elaborated on how these trends are being navigated "for a dynamic and vibrant food services industry."

"First, as global and local consumer trends and tastes evolve and companies speed up their adoption of technology, jobs have to be redesigned to keep pace with these changes.

"For companies, continuing to optimise their manpower model is important so as to stay agile and competitive. Jobs have to be purposefully redesigned in keeping with the level of technology adoption. Calibrating this carefully will help to maintain, as well as attract talent. Job redesign not only helps to raise productivity but also motivates employees to reskill and get equipped to contribute greater value to their employers. It is a win-win-win for everyone – the employees, employers, and consumers.

"For workers, it is more critical now than ever to adapt to the speed of changes, and keep on improving their skills and knowledge. Workers who take charge of their own career and professional development by constantly acquiring new skills are the ones who will stay relevant and highly employable."

Next, is where the JTM comes in, to enable the progress and growth of the industry, as she shared. The JTM lays out: (1) the key trends that are driving change in the food services sector; (2) the impact of these trends on the sector and individual jobs; (3) the pathways for employers to transform jobs, and (4) the skills required by workers as job roles evolve, to future proof the food services industry.

More details on the JTM are as follow:

How 30 significant job roles in the sector will be impacted in line with the trends highlighted above:

First, of the 30 job roles, 40% are expected to undergo a medium or high degree of change and require extensive to moderate job redesign for enhanced scope or responsibilities. There is potential for job roles such as service crew, station chef, and kitchen assistant to be reconfigured to include new skillsets, as technology replaces manual tasks. [Scroll below for some examples]

For example, the roles of a service crew and kitchen assistant can be adapted to become a food & beverage operations associate. This involves the worker being well-versed in back-of-house operations like basic food preparation and front-of-house operations like handling of technology tools (e.g. mobile ordering systems). Being adept in cross-functional roles can support workers in their career progression.

Next, the remaining 18 job roles such as executive chef, operations director, and multi-outlet manager, may experience a lesser degree of change but continuous upskilling can help them to remain competitive.

For example, while an executive chef can rely on technology to assist with tasks such as analysing operational profitability for the outlet, the job role remains largely strategic in nature.

Third, in-demand skills that workers will need to be equipped with include business management skills, digital skills, green skills, customer experience skills, and creative technical skills.

Finally, four new job roles may emerge, resulting from the rising trends in technology and sustainability, namely:

  • Revenue manager: Enables data-driven decisions in areas like product pricing, menu optimisation, and service enhancement.
  • Customer retention specialist: Executes and improves customer engagement, retention, and loyalty marketing campaigns and projects.
  • Restaurant designer: Designs and develops the overall look, design, and concept of an establishment to support smooth workflows.
  • Sustainability specialist: Drives the organisation’s sustainability agenda and serves as the subject matter expert.

Recommendations laid out in the JTM:

The JTM lays out the following recommendations:

Employers can actively design future-fit operations, optimise processes, and recast employment practices

Employers can redesign their operations around the opportunities and challenges of the future to remain competitive. Leveraging technology and data analytics can help companies optimise operational processes, including automation and minimising repetitive tasks. To drive this, companies can support their workers through job redesign.

Roles can be adjusted and enhanced so that workers are able to take on expanded or higher-value job scopes, with better career progression and wages.

Companies looking to redesign jobs can tap the Support for Job Redesign under Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG-JR) for consultancy services to redesign work processes, tasks, and responsibilities.

Workers can look forward to upskilling opportunities to keep pace with the sector's demands

Workers in food services companies are encouraged to embrace new skillsets that will further their professional development.

To equip workers with the relevant skills needed for emerging roles such as Business Management Skills and Digital Skills, companies can make use of initiatives, such as WSG’s Career Conversion Programmes (CCPs).

Educational Institutions can play a role

Educational institutions can work with food services companies to promote continuous upskilling and reskilling of workers, enabling them to develop new capabilities for in-demand skills and embark on training pathways for emerging job roles with good career progression prospects.


Changes to existing job roles

Low degree of change, i.e., these job roles will remain largely unchanged as job tasks continue to have a high dependence on human intervention, and upskilling will be sufficient for workers to remain relevant:

  1. Chief executive officer/managing director
  2. Operations director/operations manager
  3. Group beverage manager
  4. Multi-outlet manager
  5. Head barista
  6. Head bartender
  7. Head sommelier / sommelier
  8. Barista / supervisor / senior barista
  9. Bartender supervisor
  10. Wine specialist/demi sommelier
  11. Executive chef
  12. Executive pastry chef
  13. Executive sous chef
  14. Pastry chef
  15. Head chef
  16. Assistant pastry chef
  17. Head baker
  18. Assistant head chef

Medium degree of change, i.e., these job roles will have a fair proportion of tasks being substituted by technology, with human intervention required for high value-adding tasks:

  1. Barista
  2. Bartender
  3. Wine server/wine waiter/commis sommelier
  4. Host/hostess/crew leader
  5. Executive/service supervisor
  6. Outlet manager/assistant outlet manager
  7. Pastry cook
  8. Baker

High degree of change, i.e., these job roles will require extensive job redesign. Job holders will need to be reskilled with new skills to maintain their employability:

  1. Server/service crew/runner
  2. Assistant pastry cook/assistant baker/kitchen assistant
  3. Cook/kitchen assistant
  4. Station chef / senior cook


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Lead image / Ministry of Manpower's Facebook 

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