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Employees want time off to upskill amid digitalisation

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But who should be responsible? Some say it’s HR

Employees across Singapore want their bosses to give them time to upskill, according to a new report, as they embrace the era of digitalisation. A survey by HR services provider Reeracoen among 308 Singapore-based respondents revealed that employees want initiatives that will help them grow.

As the poll found, both full- and part-time employees want their organisations to roll out initiatives such as:

  • Time off work to upgrade or upskill
  • Send them off for external training
  • Sponsored scholarships

The trend of digitalisation became fast-tracked after the pandemic forced many workplaces to go remote overnight. Kenji Naito, Reeracoen’s Group CEO, said that as the world continues to digitalise, the demand for different ways of working will likely continue beyond this year. “To deal with this demand, Singapore based companies must evolve by first understanding their local talent pool, otherwise, they will have to compete globally for talents, which would be expensive and unsustainable. We believe that by providing insights into the changing trends as well as the evolving preferences of workers, we empower employers to attract and retain top talent effectively,” Naito said in a media release.

These findings come as the country’s Ministry of Manpower (MOM) recently encouraged employers in the hotel sector to upskill their staff amid transformation happening in the industry. According to Reeracoen’s report, more than half (55%) of full-time employees feel supported by their organisation when it comes to upskilling, while only 37% of part-timers feel the same way. They are also most familiar with the following upskilling platforms:

  • SkillsFuture
  • Workforce SG
  • Udemy
  • Microsoft Learn
  • Grab

Entering digitalisation

Businesses have long been urged to prioritise upskilling, especially now when more AI tools enter workplaces. In Malaysia, the country’s HR minister highlighted the need to retrain 50% of its workforce to cushion the impact of AI on employment. In Singapore, 54% of full-time employees and 44% of part-time workers said they are already equipped to embrace digitalisation. When it comes to the organisation they’re in, 57% of full-timers and 61% of part-time staff believe that their organisation is ready for digitalisation.

However, they don’t believe that digitalisation solely become their responsibility. For full-timers, 34% said the responsibility of digitalisation should fall on the IT department. Another 26% said it should be under the government, while 19% said it should be everyone’s responsibility. Interestingly, 15% of full-time staff said the HR department should be responsible for digitalisation.


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