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Digital upskilling at the top of the training agenda

Two thirds of employers say digital upskilling is at the top of their training agenda amid the COVID-19 crisis, according to a new report.

The NTUC LearningHub's Employer Skills Survey report says as digital transformation becomes the imperative for businesses in the face of the pandemic, 58% of employers in Singapore are training their workforce in technology-related skills to keep their businesses viable and resilient during this period. 

The survey, which was conducted during the 'circuit breaker' in April 2020 with business leaders across Singapore, aimed to uncover the most in-demand skillsets across industries -- including Built Environment, Essential Domestic Services, Lifestyle, Manufacturing,  and Professional Services, and Trade  and& Connectivity -  in the Covid-19 era.

Overall, in terms of digital skills, competencies such as 'Digital Marketing' (voted by 44%), 'Project Management Skills' (voted by 43%), and 'Data Analysis' (voted by 40%), had superseded other skills including 'Basic IT support' (voted by 33%) and 'Data-Driven Decision Making Skills' (voted by 32%).

While Digital Marketing skills were most sought-after by the Lifestyle (67%), Trade and Connectivity (59%), and Professional Services industries (52%), Project Management skills had higher priority for employers in Built Environment (66%) and Essential Domestic Services (50%). For those in Manufacturing, Data Analysis skills were the most critical (44%) to their company's survival.  

"Covid-19 has transformed the way that many of us look at businesses and our lifestyle," says NTUC LearningHub's CEO, Kwek Kok Kwong.

"Many employers are readier than before to embrace digital solutions that previously seemed daunting, and I foresee digitalisation becoming a core strategy for businesses," he says. 

"In Singapore, we are fortunate in that our innovation is well supported by funding schemes such as those for digital solutions, including e-commerce platforms. We also have a well-educated and adaptable workforce to support that with some level of retraining.

"In this new world order where social distancing is the new norm, a business' ability to stand out amongst the crowd digitally would give it a competitive advantage and that could explain why Digital Marketing emerged as the number one digital skill," says Kwong.

"In a data-rich environment, the ability to use Data Analysis for decision-making and the customisation clients' needs will be a game-changer. We therefore see Data Analysis skills emerging high in the ladder of skills in demand," he says. 

"Employers are also demanding not only workers who possess strong Project Management skills to manage complex projects, but also those who can sort out their backend workflow to make the customer journey a seamless one."