Singaporean business should be focused on boosting productivity and caring for their employees if they wish to enjoy continual growth.

This was one of the key messages which Singapore's Minister of Manpower, Lim Swee Sway, highlighted in his May Day speech.

"With an ageing population, our local workforce will grow much slower in future. At the same time, we are also moderating the increase of foreign manpower," he said.

"Manpower could become the bottleneck of our future growth, unless we speed up efforts to become a more manpower-lean economy and a more productive workforce. This is the only way to ensure that businesses can continue to grow, unemployment can stay low while wages can keep moving up."

Lim explained that the journey of transformation in Singapore has already started on three fronts.

First, to stay competitive, the nation is striving to create jobs of the future in our economy.

Second, to stay employable, the government is nurturing skills of the future in its workforce.

Last but not least, to meet the higher aspirations of its people, Singapore is building careers of the future for locals to pursue their passions.

"These are not easy challenges, but we can succeed if every employer learns to value every worker more, and every worker likewise learns to value every job better," Lim explained.

He urged companies to make better use and take better care of all employees regardless of age and qualification, invest in them and help them develop to their fullest potential.

"Unions will have to rally workers to keep learning and re-learning, upgrade and update their skills to be of greater value to their employers."

On the part of the government, Lim promised to strengthen policy and resource support for companies and workers to adapt and grow in the future economy.

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