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New manpower strategies to transform HR sector

SINGAPORE — A new manpower plan for Singapore’s human resource (HR) industry, to strengthen the capabilities of professionals and better support employers, was unveiled yesterday.

SINGAPORE — A new manpower plan for Singapore’s human resource (HR) industry, to strengthen the capabilities of professionals and better support employers, was unveiled yesterday.

This includes enhanced internship and training programmes, a national HR certification scheme, and a programme to help small businesses boost their HR functions.

There are some 43,000 HR professionals here, supporting more than 200,000 enterprises with a total workforce of about 3.4 million. This translates to about one HR professional for every 80 people in the labour force.

The tripartite partners of the Manpower Ministry, the National Trades Union Congress and the Singapore National Employers Federation said in a press release yesterday that technological disruptions, evolving business operations and a changing workforce profile are placing new demands on manpower and industries.

Speaking at the launch of the plan yesterday, Second Minister for Manpower Josephine Teo said that employers would need to work harder to find and keep talent as the economy transforms to become leaner on manpower. “HR professionals are a valuable resource that can be mobilised to activate business and industry transformation,” she said.

There are three key strategies for the plan. First, for those who want to be in the HR field, there will be enhanced internships for them to pursue industry-relevant experiences and training, and conversion programmes for mid-career professionals who wish to switch industries.

For those already in HR, there are leadership development programmes, as well as an avenue for them to get certified to benchmark their competencies and experiences.

Second, for employers, a self-help HR portal will be rolled out in the fourth quarter of this year. It will include materials such as guidelines on conducting performance appraisals and other HR-related matters such as compensation and benefits.

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) looking to improve their HR functions may call on a pool of volunteer HR directors from the private and public sectors for know-how and advice at no charge.

Third, to address a growing demand for HR solutions and expertise, SMEs may have shared access to HR systems and services offered by a common pool of 23 HR service providers appointed by enterprise development agency Spring Singapore. This will allow them to outsource some of their operational activities and get IT support to enhance their HR systems and processes.

Madam Shirley Cheong, 49, a HR manager at Expertise Technologies, an SME providing business-process outsourcing solutions, is looking forward to the upcoming plans, in particular the volunteer programme involving HR directors.

“When we call the authorities to clear our doubts, they tend to ask that we refer to guidelines on their websites ... With the volunteer HR directors, we can relay to them our real-life situations and get the needed advice,” she said.

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