In recent years, the Singapore government has been a strong advocate of lifelong learning, pushing forward various SkillsFuture programmes and frameworks over time. But, do these programmes actually work?

Thankfully, according to an independent research commissioned by Robert Half, more than six in 10 (61%) Singaporean CIOs felt the government’s SkillsFuture initiative has helped IT staff within their organisation to upgrade essential skillsets. At the same time, 43% believed it has helped alleviate the crucial skills shortage in the city-state’s IT sector.

The research also found that almost one in three (31%) CIOs felt the initiative has helped promote Singapore as an attractive place to work for IT professionals. This positive sentiment is emphasised by the fact that Information and Communications Technology (ICT) is the most popular training area used in the SkillsFuture initiative, particularly for young Singaporeans who have enrolled in numerous IT courses such as data analytics.

That said, some are still skeptical about its impact. Almost one fifth (19%) of IT leaders are still uncertain whether the initiative has had a positive effect on the tech industry, while 5% saying the effects are still yet to be felt.

Despite the government’s initial aim to help Singaporean’s upskill in essential skills, there are still doubts about the future-readiness of the local IT workforce.

While 56% of CIOs were "completely" or "mostly" confident in the IT workforce’s ability to upskill, more than four in 10 (44%) are only "somewhat" or "not at all" confident about the ability of the Singaporean IT workforce developing the right skills to adapt to future market changes.

Matthieu Imbert-Bouchard, managing director at Robert Half Singapore, said: "SkillsFuture represents a positive step forward to fill the skills gap in the IT industry, enabling CIOs to keep their organisations competitive by training their staff with the most up-to-date technological skillsets, while also improving employment opportunities for individual workers."

However, Imbert-Bouchard advised that besides tapping into government-led initiatives and opportunities, Singapore's IT leaders need to take a proactive approach to upskilling their employees.

"This means implementing measures to better equip their staff with the skills necessary for today’s workforce, while also encouraging them to tap into initiatives such as SkillsFuture. This will not only ensure that workers improve their performance, but also embeds progressive upskilling and professional development in Singaporean work life," he elaborated.

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