With hybrid roles emerging as a trend in the future, apart from their core skill sets, employers are increasingly wanting employees to have supplementary skills such as data analysis, project management, and more. 

According to NTUC LearningHub’s (NTUC LHUB) The New Normal of Sector Skills report, 71% of 367 business leaders (senior managers or directors and above) surveyed said they intend to hire candidates with broader skill sets in the future. 

With almost all employers (99%) agreeing that there is a greater need for employees to take on hybrid roles to meet the organisation's current business objectives, employees are increasingly expected to have supplementary skills such as data analysis (54%), project management skills (52%), digital marketing (35%), and basic IT support (31%). 

The report also uncovered the top five technical roles, technology skills, and adaptive skills employers are looking to hire for, across seven industry sectors in Singapore (manufacturing, built & environment, trade & connectivity, essential domestic services, modern services, and lifestyle).

Manufacturing (electronics, marine & offshore and aerospace, and energy & chemicals)

More than half of employers (57%) have reported the intention to hire new employees with the below skill sets.

Top five technical roles: 

  • Engineering services quality control - 23%
  • Electronics technical and engineering - 19%
  • Engineering services operations and maintenance - 19%
  • Engineering services engineering procurement - 17%
  • Aerospace aircraft maintenance - 15%

Top five technology skills: 

  • Data analysis - 44%
  • Project management skills - 39%
  • Basic IT support - 28%
  • Data-driven decision-making skills - 28%
  • Robotic process automation - 17%

Top five adaptive skills: 

  • Innovation - 52%
  • Design thinking - 46%
  • Analytical reasoning and complex problem solving - 44%
  • Creativity - 38%
  • Leadership - 35%

Built & environment (construction, real estate, environmental services, and security)

Three in five employers (61%) have reported the intention to hire new employees with the below skill sets.

Top five technical roles: 

  • Built environment project management - 42%
  • Security consultancy - 26%
  • Built environment engineering consultancy and design - 26%
  • Built environment construction management - 26%
  • Built environment architectural consultancy and design - 21%

Top five technology skills: 

  • Project management skills - 66%
  • Basic IT support - 41%
  • Data analysis - 41%
  • Data-driven decision-making skills - 31%
  • Cybersecurity - 28%

Top five adaptive skills: 

  • Innovation - 45%
  • Design thinking - 39%
  • Analytical reasoning and complex problem solving - 32%
  • Creativity - 32%
  • Leadership - 29%

Trade & connectivity (air transport, sea transport, land transport, logistics, and wholesale trade)

Almost half of the employers (57%) have reported the intention to hire new employees with the below skill sets.

Top five technical roles: 

  • Logistics Microsoft excel - 19%
  • Logistics data analysis - 19%
  • Logistics transportation management and operations - 19%
  • Logistics freight forwarding and operations - 19%
  • Logistics solutioning and programme management - 19%

Top five technology skills: 

  • Digital marketing - 59%
  • Basic IT support - 35%
  • Data analysis - 29%
  • Data-driven decision-making skills - 24%
  • Cybersecurity - 24%

Top five adaptive skills: 

  • Analytical reasoning and complex problem solving - 46%
  • Innovation - 40%
  • Adaptability and resilience - 31%
  • Creativity - 31%
  • Negotiation / influencing skills - 31%

Essential domestic services (healthcare and education)

Two in three employers (65%) have reported the intention to hire new employees with the below skill sets.

Top five technical roles: 

  • Early childhood care & education teacher - 24%
  • Early childhood care & education workplace safety and health - 18%
  • Training and adult education learning management - 18%
  • Early childhood care & education educator - 15%
  • Healthcare operations - 15% 

Top five technology skills:  

  • Project management skills - 50%
  • Data-driven decision-making skills - 46%
  • Data analysis - 42%
  • Cybersecurity - 33%
  • Web/ app design and development - 33%

Top five adaptive skills: 

  • Innovation - 49%
  • Design thinking - 41%
  • Creativity - 41%
  • Adaptability and resilience - 35%
  • Leadership - 35%

Modern services (professional services, ICT & Media, and financial services)

Three in five employers (62%) have reported the intention to hire new employees with the below skill sets.

Top five technical roles: 

  • Financial services blockchain - 18%
  • Infocomm technology cybersecurity - 14%
  • Infocomm technology operations and support - 14%
  • Infocomm technology data and artificial intelligence - 11%
  • Infocomm technology software and applications - 11%

Top five technology skills: 

  • Digital marketing - 52%
  • Project management skills - 50%
  • Data analysis - 46%
  • Basic IT support - 44%
  • Cybersecurity - 38%

Top five adaptive skills: 

  • Analytical reasoning and complex problem solving - 37%
  • Innovation - 35%
  • Adaptability and resilience - 33%
  • Effective communication - 32%
  • Creativity - 30%

Lifestyle (food services, food manufacturing, retail, and hotels)

A third of employers (33%) have reported the intention to hire new employees with the below skill sets.

Top five technical roles: 

  • Retail customer experience management - 44%
  • Retail operations - 38%
  • Retail e-commerce (omni-channel) - 31%
  • Retail service leadership - 25%
  • Retail marketing - 25%

Top five technology skills: 

  • Digital marketing - 67%
  • Data analysis - 46%
  • Data-driven decision-making skills - 42%
  • Web/ app design and development - 43%
  • Basic IT support - 33%

Top five adaptive skills: 

  • Creativity - 42%
  • Leadership - 42%
  • Innovation - 38%
  • Negotiation / influencing skills - 38%
  • Analytical reasoning and complex problem solving - 32%

Other key findings of the report include: 

  • Half of the employers (52%) reported insufficient employees with the right skill sets to achieve current business goals.
  • Only one-third of employees (32%) agree or strongly agree that their company provide them with the right training opportunities to enhance work performance.
  • Almost half of the employees (47%) are not confident that their current job will be able to support them in their career growth.
  • Only one in four employees (27%) agree that their potential is maximised at their workplace.
  • A large majority of employees (71%) wish that their company provided more support to help with the upgrading of skills.
  • According to employees the ‘lack of initiative from a company’ is one of the top reasons that they do not upskill (34%).
  • The other reasons for not upskilling include lack of time for training (55%), unsure of the skills to upgrade in (42%), unsure of the types of training resources, as well as not knowing where to begin (33%).
  • While the majority of employers (84%) indicated that it was necessary for the employees to learn new skills due to changes brought about by COVID-19 to the business, only 65% say they have been training their employees since the pandemic hit.

Commenting on the findings, NTUC LHUB’s Chairman, Eugene Wong said: “The pandemic has made the upskilling imperative more pressing hence providing the right training opportunities for employees would strengthen companies’ competitiveness in the face of future disruptions. Companies must transform through new business models but in order to make strides, their employees must be equipped with the relevant skill sets to deliver their new roles and responsibilities. Employers must act now to elevate their workforce competencies so that they will be well-poised to persevere and prosper in the New Normal.”

NTUC LHUB’s Director Institute Of Business Excellence And Healthcare Academy, Jenaline Low added: “For those who are looking to jumpstart the upskilling of their workforce, it is key to invest in learning and development capabilities to assess and align the workforce skills requirement to the organisation’s strategic business goals.

She suggested using a Designing Thinking approach to identify skills gaps. This will help decision-makers succinctly identify areas for skills upgrading and discover employees’ strengths to optimise their full potential.

"To add, we urge companies to leverage training support and subsidies available to them such as the Enhanced Training Support Packages and Enhanced Absentee Payroll, which are helpful to defray the training investment cost with course fee subsidies and absentee payroll,” Low said.

Photo / 123RF

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