With the Singapore Budget 2018 just around the corner, REACH has announced in its latest Pre-Budget 2018 Feedback Exercise that Singaporeans are most concerned about planning ahead for the future. Singapore’s finance minister Heng Swee Keat will deliver Singapore's Budget statement for this year on 19 February at 3.30pm in Parliament.

We’ve gathered a few HR and business leaders from IKEA, NTUC, PageUP, Publicis, and more to share their hopes for the Singapore Budget 2018. From better use of technology in HR to encouraging diversity in the workforce, here are some of the key takeaways they’ve shared with Human Resources.

Technology in HR

According to Karen Cariss, CEO and co-Founder of PageUp, technology is fast becoming a ‘value-added partner’ to employer-employee relationships, allowing for better productivity and efficiency. However, she thinks that there are lingering employee mindsets about the negative impact of technology – particularly that it is here to take their jobs. She commented: “My #1 wish for the upcoming Singapore Budget 2018 is to encourage businesses of all sizes to digitise and ramp up technology adoption.”

“But it’s HR’s role to lead the conversation to ensure organisations are able to humanise this technology adoption effectively, and show how technology can help employees do their jobs better,” she added.

Accelerate learning and development

Whether it’s partnerships to groom job-ready wealth management talent, or mentoring programmes; the L&D landscape is evolving at a faster pace than ever before. With that said, Lydia Song, HR director, IKEA Southeast Asia, commented: “The budget for learning and development, is needed to accelerate the recruitment as well as development of local talent. For us, we are focused on keeping up with our existing efforts in developing talent and succession planning internally through various initiatives and programs”.

Sharing the same sentiment on upskilling, Sanjay Modi, managing director, Monster.com, APAC and Middle East, commented: “With Smart Nation as the top most priority and AI & Automation taking centre stage, I am keen to see more incentives that encourage companies to impart significant digital training that matches talent to the right opportunity. Businesses in Singapore should be incentivised more to train and upskill their employees.”

Secondly, we need more measures to promote not just inclusive growth but programmes that educate and encourage employees towards sound financial wellness planning at the workplace.”

Meanwhile, Gilbert Tan, assistant director-general (ADG) of NTUC, and  CEO of e2i, calls for a paradigm shift in companies mind-set and approach towards learning as the industry is changing so rapidly. He remarked: “There needs to be a new way of learning, such as ‘speed-to-market’ learning ecosystem to help workers cope with changes in jobs and skills.” Breaking this down, it makes up for:

  • Crowdsourced learning Where content owners and learners interact and learn from each other
  • Bite-sized learning Curated, small nuggets of short-duration learning modules, drip-fed over longer intervals
  • Just-in-time Tending topics can be pushed out quickly to address immediate needs on the ground
  • Learning community A community for learners to network, connect and exchange information with fellow industry practitioners
  • On-the-go  Multimedia content that can be accessed 24/7 on your mobile phone

Diversity in talent

As more employers recognise the value of fostering a diverse workforce, the industry has seen many strides made towards creating more inclusive, fair and safe workplaces all. With that said, Benjamin Roberts,‎ global talent acquisition and mobility leader, Publicis shared his wish for better opportunities in bringing great talent to the workforce. He said: “I hope for more EP passes. It’s not because I want to bring in more foreign talent for just because reasons, but we do need more creative people in some industries - such as advertising (mine). For example, the Thais are a very creative group of people and that would prove beneficial for the sector.”


Human Resources will be sharing live updates on Singapore Budget 2018 on 19 February. For latest news on HR and manpower issues arising from the speech, please click here.
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