Skip to main content

Advertisement

Advertisement

Increasingly 'more upsides than downsides' from tech disruption, says Josephine Teo

SINGAPORE — Singaporeans, more so than the people in many other countries, will be able to deal with the ways in which technology is changing work, Manpower Minister Josephine Teo said on Tuesday (April 16).

Increasingly 'more upsides than downsides' from tech disruption, says Josephine Teo

Technology is changing jobs and processes.

SINGAPORE — Singaporeans, more so than the people in many other countries, will be able to deal with the ways in which technology is changing work, Manpower Minister Josephine Teo said on Tuesday (April 16).

“For Singapore, increasingly, we see more upsides than downsides (from technological disruption),” she said at the Ministry of Manpower’s (MOM) annual workplan seminar.

She cited reasons for this:

  • Singapore is fundamentally labour-constrained. Its economy “already creates many more jobs than we have people to do”.

  • Most businesses, particularly in the service industry, believe customers will always want the “human touch”. These businesses are also worried that the foreign-worker quota will be tightened.

The Government has, for many years, encouraged Singaporeans to upgrade their skills throughout their working lives so that they will not be made redundant by technology.

Mrs Teo noted that many Singaporeans are worried about the prospect — even professionals, managers, engineers and technicians (PMETs).

“There are workers who are afraid that their jobs, being routine and repetitive, can also be performed by robots which will soon replace them,” she said.

“There will be times when we feel overwhelmed by all the adjustments that we must make. But, more so than people in many other countries, I am convinced that Singaporeans have what it takes to walk the tech journey together successfully”.

She said it is because of Singapore’s tripartite system, in which the government, unions and employers work together to resolve manpower issues.

Recent data has been encouraging, said Mrs Teo:

  • Although 76 per cent of workers retrenched last year were PMETs, the number of retrenchments have decreased.

  • The number of PMETs retrenched last year — around 5,400 — was the lowest since 2014.

  • There are more PMETs vacancies last year, at around 31,500. This is about six times the number of PMETs who were retrenched last year.

Senior workers are another group worried about their jobs amid technological change, but the MOM will continue to support them, said Mrs Teo.

For example, the Tripartite Workgroup on Older Workers has reached a consensus to raise the retirement age beyond 62 and the re-employment age beyond 67.

The workgroup is in the midst of deliberating on how far, and how quickly, the retirement age and re-employment age should go up, she said.

It is also studying whether the Central Provident Fund contribution rates for workers who are reaching 55 should be adjusted, and whether tweaks should also be made for the older age groups, she added.

Detailed recommendations will be provided by the workgroup later this year.

Related topics

Josephine Teo Technology

Read more of the latest on

Advertisement

Popular

Advertisement

Stay in the know. Anytime. Anywhere.

Subscribe to get daily news updates, insights and must reads delivered straight to your inbox.

By clicking subscribe, I agree for my personal data to be used to send me TODAY newsletters, promotional offers and for research and analysis.

Aa