More than half of Singapore’s local workforce are professionals, managers, engineers and technicians (PMETs), however, as the economy transforms and as technology advances, PMETs will stay relevant if, and only if they continually upskill and reskill.
This is according to Second Minister for Manpower and Home Affairs, Josephine Teo who spoke about the employment of mid-career PMETs at the 2-day Singapore Human Capital Summit from 20 September.
Acknowledging the deep frustrations felt by PMETs who believe that the gains from economic growth and globalisation have been unevenly distributed, Teo also addressed growing fears about machines replacing humans in millions of jobs, due to the escalating advancement of artificial intelligence.
To help PMETs cope with such rapid changes which have led to rising unemployment and underemployment, Teo said that the government is funding partial wages and subsidising training fees for those who switch vocations mid-career through the Adapt and Grow series of schemes.
In unveiling other schemes (such as the focus on Financial, Healthcare, ICT, Professional Services, and Wholesale Trade sectors which create potential for quality job creation for PMETs, as well as the focus on building a stronger Human Resources industry), Teo particularly touched on Professional Conversion Programmes (PCPs) which thousands of workers have gone through.
Teo categorised the workers who go through PCPs as talent from the “third source” – that is, mid-career PMETs in our local workforce. She said that the first and the second sources are the Singaporean core entering the workforce and the foreign workforce which complement new local entrants.
In the first half of this year, more than 1,500 people have already undergone skills conversion through PCPs, more than double the 600 people in the first half of last year. By taking advantage of such programmes, employees are expected to be able to move into new jobs with broader and more commendable prospects.