Employers in Singapore look to adaptive skills for survival

Adaptive skills top the list of workforce competencies that employers in Singapore consider critical to surviving the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak, according to recent NTUC LearningHub’s Employer Skills Survey report.

The survey, which was conducted during the “circuit breaker” in April with business leaders across Singapore, aimed to uncover the most in-demand skillsets in the COVID-19 era. The findings include the top skills by industry — built environment, essential domestic services, lifestyle, manufacturing and professional services, and trade and connectivity.

Overall, adaptive skills such as “adaptability and resilience” (voted by 56%), “teamwork and collaboration” (52%) and “innovation” (49%) had superseded digital-related competencies including “digital marketing” (44%) and project management skills (43%).

Also, two in three employers (65%) deem “improving soft skills or adaptive skills” an imperative when sending their workers for training during this period, further underpinning the significant emphasis that businesses are placing on this competency.

“As we enter phase one of re-opening the economy, we face a new normal. And as the changes persist, so will the enduring importance of adaptive skills in helping workers and companies remain resilient,” said NTUC LearningHub’s CEO Kwek Kok Kwong. “Workers must actively identify gaps in their current skillsets to determine the areas in which they need to upskill to keep pace with evolving labour market demands.”

He said adaptability and resilience are especially pertinent during these uncertain times as workers would need to adjust to new work environments, with remote working being a key aspect.

“They will also need to be equipped with the skills that enable them to quickly recover from challenges arising from the downturn, while keeping up the morale of their teams,” he added. “Teamwork and collaboration skills would help workers cope with the evolving world of work as they help increase productivity and spur innovation. This in turn will help accelerate business transformation.”