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Upskilling in Singapore: What your employees are really looking for

Upskilling in Singapore: What your employees are really looking for

Over four in five Singaporean workers (87%) believed that upskilling should be done during work hours as part of their role, of which 93% of workers in IT & telecommunication agreed.

More than eight in 10 (81%) Singaporeans surveyed wished their employers placed higher importance on job-related learning and upskilling, of which more than a quarter (27%) strongly agreed. Correspondingly, a further 78% of respondents admitted that it is bumped to the bottom of the to-do list when work gets busy.

In support of HubSpot's upcoming education and upskilling campaign, its commissioned World Cert Week's research released today (Monday, 9 May 2022), took a deeper look into what Singaporean employees think about upskilling. 

Per the research, 74% of Singaporean workers agreed that they prioritise companies that offer learning/upskilling opportunities more than a competitive salary. Interestingly, men were also observed to be more likely to agree with the same sentiment (80%), compared to women (67%).

As for C-level executives/VPs/directors, 90% of respondents thought the same.

Overall, 69% of Singaporeans workers agreed that their learning and development is a key focus area for their employers. with men more likely to agree compared to women (73% to 65%). By sector, workers in IT & telecommunication were among most likely to agree, more so compared to those in manufacturing.

More than half of Singaporeans (60%) agreed that their employers offer incentives, subsidies, and time off to learn new skills. Similarly, 60% of respondents also agreed that their employers gave them time to regularly attended classes/courses to learn new skills during work hours as part of their career development — 85% of C-level executives/VPs/directors agreed, as compared to 70% of managers, and 56% of individual contributors.

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Upskilling for career growth

Looking into how upskilling supports career growth, over nine in 10 Singaporeans surveyed (93%) agreed that upskilling/job-related learning helps workers to stay relevant/perform better at their current jobs. Interestingly, Gen Z (50%) and Millennials (42%) were more likely to agree as compared to Gen X (29%). A large number of respondents working in financial services/accountancy (98%), IT & telecommunication (97%), and education (97%) agreed. 

Nine in 10 (90%) of Singaporeans also agreed that upskilling can help workers change industries/roles. Almost half of C-level executives/VPs/directors strongly agreed, as compared to 32% of managers, and 31% of individual contributors.

Apart from switching industries/roles, respondents also believed that upskilling can help negotiate for a better salary (88%), and secure the job they want (88%).

Over four in five Singaporean workers (87%) believed that upskilling should be done during work hours as part of their role, of which 93% of workers in IT & telecommunication agreed. By generation, more than a third of Millennials agreed to the same at 38%, while 31% of Gen X and 27% of Baby Boomer respondents agreed. 

Next, 87% of respondents believed that upskilling/job-related learning makes them a more attractive candidate for promotion, of which 32% strongly agreed. 

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Barriers to upskilling

When asked to rank their top three barriers preventing workers from doing any/more upskilling, respondents indicated the following:

  • Lack of time from employers to undertake resources (65%),
  • Lack of financial support from employers to undertake learning necessary or relevant to their role (59%), and
  • Lack of time in their personal lives (56%).

Almost two-thirds of men (63%) agreed to a lack of financial support from employers to undertake the necessary/relevant learning in their role, as compared to women (55%). In contrast, women were more likely to indicate that they can't find suitable learning materials as the top barrier (35%), compared to men (28%.)

Individual contributors are almost twice as likely (14%) to indicate a lack of motivation as the top barrier for upskilling, in comparison to managers (8%). On the other hand, C-level executives/VPs/directors were more than twice as likely to say they cannot find suitable learning materials (14%).

Interestingly, those with an educational background of up to GCE A level or Higher Certificate (14%) are the least likely to note a lack of time from their employers to undertake resources, compared to those with a Diploma or vocational education (26%) and those with a University degree or above (29%). 

Employee values and future employment 

With current employers in mind, or even when searching for new employment, 90% of Singaporean workers agreed that they have values they prioritise when it comes to learning as part of their own professional development. The remaining 10% indicated that they do not prioritise anything in particular.

The most common values include a working environment where constant learning/ upskilling is encouraged (66%) learning opportunities are deemed just as equal as designated work (55%), and leadership that focuses on development/upskilling (50%).

Other values include designated company time for learning/upskilling (48%) and companies who prioritise opportunities to improve their skills over a competitive salary (44%). 

The research also observed that Millennials were more likely to prioritise values with current employers or when searching for new employment (94%), specifically learning opportunities being just as equal as designated work (60%) and designated company time (55%). For comparison, both Gen X and Baby Boomers both received 88% of respondents' agreement.

Spurred by these findings, HubSpot announced the launch of ‘The Great Upskill’, which will see HubSpot and its brand partners across APAC give their employees a full workday during the week of May 9 to 13 to dedicate to upskilling and job-related learning. Joining the cohort of companies in Singapore pledging to participate in The Great Upskill is BCG RISE, EngageRocket, Meltwater, and Aircall.

"Since the start of the pandemic, businesses have had to adjust to match the needs of customers. Similarly, many people are thinking differently about their professional development and growth. Our World Certification Week helps learners reflect on where they are in their careers and identify the tools and skills that will help them grow better," said Dharmesh Shah, co-founder and CTO of HubSpot. "As an added bonus, they'll be supporting other learners through charitable donations that help make education globally accessible."

Photos / HubSpot survey

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