Providing your employees with opportunities to learn new skills is necessary if you wish to significantly impact retention and attraction levels.

According to the Kelly Global Workforce Index, 51% of employees in Singapore stated acquiring new skills is their highest priority in their current job.

The report, which canvassed responses from 230,000 people across 31 countries, highlighted the figure was higher than in other countries across the region, including in Hong Kong (42%), Malaysia (43%) and Thailand (37%).

In fact, the survey found new skills are so highly valued that there is even a willingness to sacrifice higher pay and career growth for them.

Over half (55%) of the 1,500 local workers polled stated they would be prepared to trade-off either or both for the chance to learn something new and meaningful.

“Climbing the corporate ladder is clearly important to people, but frequently not as important as developing the skills that will give them the capability and confidence to realise their long term potential,” Mark Hall, vice president and country manager at Kelly Services Singapore, said.

The survey added employer-provided training (48%), mentoring (39%), and outsourced training (23%) are the most popular resources in Singapore when preparing for career development and advancement opportunities.

More than four in 10 (44%) employees in Singapore also said they have had a career development discussion with their employer in the past year. This was found to be 6% higher than the global average.

Among those who have had this discussion, 56 % felt it had been helpful in terms of acquiring new skills, and 50% in terms of advancement opportunities.

“Many employers will often reward staff with a promotion, but it may be more effective to invest in training and professional development that provides the skills to stay competitive in a rapidly changing economy,” Hall added.

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