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What you should upskill in 2024 to stay relevant in the current workplace: Skills in Singapore

What you should upskill in 2024 to stay relevant in the current workplace: Skills in Singapore

The top 10 demanded skills in the business management cluster have remained relatively consistent over the past decade.

Business management, data management, and production management have accounted for the majority of the skills composition of the Singapore economy from 2012 to 2022.

As observed in the Skills Demand for the Future Economy (SDFE) 2023/24 report, operations management increased in relative importance from 8% in 2012 to 12.2% in 2022, reflecting the rise of e-commerce and globalised supply chains. Similarly, care services increased slightly in relative importance from 6.5% in 2012 to 7.6% in 2022, reflecting the increased need to cater to Singapore’s aging population.

The 2023/24 edition of the SDFE report by SkillsFuture Singapore analyses how skills required by the Singapore economy have changed over time. 

While the absolute demand for critical core skills (CCS) increased in this period, its increase is lower than the other clusters. This resulted in a net decrease in relative importance from 4.8% in 2012 to 3.4% in 2022. The report defines CCS as a unique set of 16 core skills identified by Singapore employers as the most critical to thrive in the future economy

Apps & tools also increased in relative importance from 4.0% in 2012 to 6.4% in 2022, reflecting the speed of digitalisation in Singapore.

skillsreport2023

Business management

Breaking it down further, the top 10 demanded skills in the business management cluster have remained relatively consistent over the past decade. Stakeholder management, governance, and process improvement are skills that became more important in 2022.

Skills that consistently remained in the top 10 list in 2012, 2017 and 2022 are:

  • Documentation: Writing clear and concise reports
  • Audit and compliance: Developing compliance processes and audit strategies
  • Quality assurance: Developing and implementing quality standards
  • Business opportunities development: Identifying new business opportunities
  • Legal and compliance management: Managing compliance with regulations
  • Continuous improvement management: Improving processes and procedures
  • Sales and business development: Generating new business and grow existing accounts

New skills that appeared in 2022 but did not consistently appear in the top 10 list in 2012 and 2017 are:

  • Stakeholder management: Managing stakeholder expectations
  • Governance: Evaluating governance practices
  • Process improvement: Evaluating change and improvement processes

Data management

The top 10 demanded skills in the data management cluster have also remained relatively consistent over the past decade. 

Skills that are consistently in the top 10 list in 2012, 2017 and 2022 are:

  • Programming and coding: Writing code to create software programmes
  • Big data analytics: Analysing large datasets to find patterns and trends
  • Applications development: Developing applications from design specifications
  • Engineering problem-solving: Using root cause analysis to solve problems
  • Automation research and implementation: Automating processes using equipment and information technology
  • Applications support and enhancement: Providing technical support and enhancements to applications
  • Human resource: Innovating HR processes through digitalisation

Skills that appeared in 2022 but did not consistently appear in the top 10 list in 2012 and 2017 are:

  • Customer data analysis: Analysing customer data to understand customer behaviours
  • Data protection management: Developing and implement data protection programmes
  • Artificial intelligence application: Integrating artificial intelligence into engineering processes

Production management

The top 10 demanded skills in the production management cluster experienced some changes over the past decade. Standard operating procedures development, power quality management, and mathematical concepts application grew in importance in 2022.

Skills that are consistently in the top 10 list in 2012, 2017 and 2022:

  • Quality assurance: Developing and implementing quality standards
  • Continuous improvement management: Improving processes and procedures
  • Electrical fundamentals application: Applying electrical principles to aircraft systems
  • Mechanical engineering management: Managing mechanical engineering projects
  • Civil and structural engineering management: Managing civil and structural engineering projects
  • Preventive maintenance management: Developing and implementing preventive maintenance plans

Skills that appeared in 2022 but did not consistently appear in the top 10 list in 2012 and 2017:

  • Standard operating procedures development: Implementing and enforcing standard operating procedures
  • Power quality management: Investigating electricity supply issues
  • Mathematical concepts Application: Applying math to solve engineering problems
  • Operation management: Managing manufacturing operations

Critical core skills

Although the top five demanded critical core skills did not change over the past decade, there are changes in their ranking.

Skills that are consistently in the top 10 list in 2012, 2017 and 2022 are:

  • Communication: Sharing information effectively
  • Collaboration: Working effectively with others
  • Problem solving: Identifying and solve problems
  • Creative thinking: Generating new and innovative ideas
  • Self management: Managing one’s personal effectiveness and holistic well-being

Priority skills in the three economies - care, digital and green

Having looked at the overall skills composition of the Singapore economy, the report spotlighted trends & skills pertaining to each of the three economies, namely, – care, digital and green.

Green economy

As a whole, climate change and sustainability will increasingly be at the top of the agenda for both public and private sectors. The green economy has seen rapid developments in the sustainability space.

Trend one: Green skills growth has remained consistent in the last two years, with high demand in emerging areas such as agrifood, sustainable finance, and carbon management.

Cross-sector and cross-functional skills continue to see high transferability with moderate to high demand growth from 2019 to 2022. These skills are consistently sought after by employers across job roles and sectors - e.g environment and social governance, carbon footprint management, and energy management and audit.

Trend two: Three highly transferable green skills across sectors and job roles are seeing high growth momentum. Environment and social governance, carbon footprint management, and sustainable manufacturing are the fastest-growing skills in the green economy.

Trend three: Compliance requirements have pushed the demand for skills in sustainable finance, carbon management, decarbonisation and sustainability risk management.

Digital economy 

Singapore has made significant strides in leveraging technology for growth and innovation, committing to the digital economy through strategic partnerships and initiatives that explore the potential of technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and business digitalisation.

Trend one: Digital transformation and emerging technology are leading the trend toward businesses leveraging data and AI for business innovation.

Trend two: Three skills continue to trend high in transferability with steady demand growth. Per the report, programming and coding is crucial in developing software applications and websites and automating work tasks. This skill is required for software engineering managers, associate software engineers, software developers and mobile and application-related job roles that require this skill. 

Big data analytics is also becoming increasingly important to businesses for data-driven decisions to improve business-related outcomes. Lastly, application support and enhancement is essential in providing transformative solutions and digital infrastructure such as the Internet, big data, and AI.

Trend three: There is a general surge in demand and transferability for automation research and implementation, e-commerce management, and AI application across business functions and sectors.

Care economy 

The care economy is a field that is continuously innovating ways to care for, support and empower citizens to reach their full potential.

Trend one: Ongoing demand for care services spurs the demand for skills that support holistic care provision and innovative business models.

Trend two: Employers continue to demand skills that enhance service experience and service delivery value chains.

Trend three: Demand for care skills is increasing because professionals within and beyond the care economy require them to achieve collective care outcomes.


All images / Skills Demand for the Future Economy (SDFE) 2023/24 report

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