News & Opinions
Where Do Singaporeans Think The Future Jobs Are?

Contributed by Julia Chan

Singapore is experiencing an eclectic economic performance where jobs and industries are in flux due to the global economic slowdown and disruption by the fourth industrial revolution.

To find out what Singaporeans think of jobs in possible industries of the future, we polled 150 respondents on:

  • Which industries they think will have a bright future in Singapore
  • Whether they are prepared for jobs in the six sectors the Committee of the Future Economy is working on
  • If they're not prepared, what the main reason is


Respondents think IT (21%), Medical and Healthcare (19%), and Hospitality and Service (14%) are the top 3 industries which will have a bright future in Singapore.

Notably there is a significant group who aren't sure (15%) what these industries will be.


The top 3 identified industries by respondents (in red text above) fall under the Essential Domestic Services, Modern Services and Lifestyle clusters.

(In all there are 6 clusters or sectors i.e. Manufacturing, Built Environment and Transport & Logistics, Essential Domestic Services, Modern Services and Lifestyle, which the Committee on the Future Economy is working on.)

However, the majority of respondents are not prepared (31%) or don't know if they are prepared (31%) for jobs in the six sectors.

The top main reason for not being prepared is that respondents don't know what future jobs are available for them (9%).

Who is looking into helping tomorrow's unemployed into tomorrow's jobs?

The World Economic Forum published a report in January 2016 which forecasts where jobs in the next few years will be lost, and created.

Credits: World Economic Forum (The Future of Jobs)

If office and administrative jobs, together with manufacturing and production jobs, will be automated away or rendered redundant in the next few years, are laid off workers able to find jobs in growth sectors (e.g. business and financial operations) with their existing skillsets? Can employers of these future jobs find enough qualified people to fill these roles?

To address the problem of jobs and skills mismatches that our young workers may potentially encounter in the future, NTUC Assistant Secretary-General Patrick Tay announced the setting up of a new “strategic nerve centre” which will start on 1 Jan 2017, called Future Jobs, Skills and Training (FJST).

FJST aims to identify where future jobs are, what skills these jobs require, and develop action plans for skills and training needed so that tomorrow’s workers can get into these jobs.


How FJST works:

1.    FJST will integrate data from ground sensing through the expanded Labour Movement network,

2.    Synthesise the findings to determine the exact skills and training needed for future jobs, and

3.    Develop and streamline action plans to help tomorrow's unemployed into tomorrow's jobs.


FJST will start pilot projects in these 5 areas:
-    Financial services
-    Information and communications technology and media
-    Precision engineering
-    Healthcare
-    Early childhood and private education

One example of a success case would be transforming the skills and career of an admin executive whose job is at risk being automated away, to a FinTech job in a few years’ time.

Credit: Udemy

To achieve this, FJST could suggest a pathway of targeted multi-step job and skills upgrades through the financial sector, such as learning basic level programming and Blockchain technology, taking business and project management skills courses and getting apprenticeships at FinTech startups or departments in larger financial firms.

This proposed action plan thereafter could be implemented by joint efforts of the young worker, employer, union, learning provider and government.

With jobs and industries changing at an even quicker pace than we have known, the FJST (together with other efforts from the Labour Movement and tripartite partners), aims to help tomorrow's unemployed get into tomorrow's jobs, today.