With talent in short supply and new job requirements expanding, looking for the right talent in a talent-stressed market can be challenging. So, it makes sense that companies look inward and drive workforce upskilling.
Yet, Singapore SMEs are not doing enough. The NTUC LearningHub (NTUC LHUB)'s recent Workforce Learning in Workplace Transformation (WLWT) report noted that 68% of SME employers wanted more support in terms of training resources. Half of SME employers also said they don’t have the budget to upskill their workforce.
In terms of resources, SMEs said they needed 'training resources to tap on' (68%), 'more support from employees' (65%), and 'more government training support' (55%).
While SMEs groan on support and costs, they also feel that training their employees can impact operations. Nearly half (48%) of them said they fear sending their employees for courses as it could disrupt daily operations, while 43% noted that they couldn’t support employees who were undergoing training (so they’re not sending them).
This is surprising given that the Singapore government has set aside resources and schemes for upskilling and retraining.
Anthony Chew, NTUC LearningHub’s director of infocomm technology, urged SMEs to take advantage of these resources.
“As the leading Continuing Education and Training (CET) provider in Singapore, we hope to enable more businesses to tap on training resources, government funding, and support schemes to drive human-centric business transformation,” he said.
SMEs' “sluggish” response to upskilling also puts them in danger of being left behind as their larger peers push ahead with upskilling initiatives.
In the report, Singapore SMEs proved to be the slowest in making plans to improve training (68%) compared to their larger counterparts (82%). They are also the least likely to make improvements to training methods (19%) and to use post-training feedback to measure the effectiveness of workforce learning programs (48%), as compared to their larger peers in these two areas (40% and 71% respectively).
“Being the key pillar of our economy, SMEs must also be proactive in the employability of their existing workforce to survive and thrive in a new world order. We stand ready to work with SME leaders to provide their workforce with outcome-focused training so that their workers are well-equipped with job-ready skills," Chew added.
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