Technology Change’s Impact on Employment in Singapore
From smart homes to the smart receptionist, technology has changed the way things work in society. Life is now easier than ever before. Tasks which previously required manual labor can be carried out by pushing a button or running a program. Developers believe that the future will only offer more changes.
The rapid growth in technology has brought about an increased level of anxiety in the labor market. It is because the need for manual labor has reduced dramatically. However, some economists believe that machines can never take the place of humans in every sector of Singapore’s economy. They believe that it may take some time and some hard adjustments but people would always find other jobs.
Impact of Technology on Jobs and Businesses in Singapore
For some time now, the labor market in Singapore has been unsteady. The question is this: did the changes in technology have any impact on employment in Singapore? Did it make things better, or worse for the labor market?
According to a study undertaken by the International Labor Organization (ILO), the rapid growth in technology affects organizations in five different sectors in Singapore and other Southeast Asian Nations.
Increase in Potential Growth Rate of New Technology
The report from ILO showed that advanced technologies like robotics, Internet of Things (IoT) and additive manufacturing. presents a considerable potential for employment and growth. Of all the companies surveyed, up to 60% saw these changing technologies as a positive way of increasing employment of highly skilled workers, labor productivity, and an increase in sales.
The total workforce in Singapore’s economy is up to 3.6 million people. From this number, 71 %(2.5 million inhabitants) work in the services sector. And the remaining 1 million inhabitants (29%) are working in the manufacturing sector. The highest employee in the service industry is retail. And which accounts for about 19.4% (489,000 people) of employment in the service sector. On the other side of things, the highest employer in the manufacturing sector is the Electrical and Electronics (E&E) sector. It accounts for about 39.4 %( 167,000 people) of employment in manufacturing.
The already competitive E&E sector could experience an exponential growth with the advancement of technology. In Southeast Asia, Singapore remains the forerunner when it comes to E&E exports. Singapore’s exports amount to about 40% of the region’s total exports. The major markets the sector exports to are Hong Kong, Malaysia, and China.
The strength of this industry is partly because of the presence of several E&E electronics manufacturing service providers. And component manufacturers. A lot of Singapore’s manufacturing strength lies in printed circuit boards, semiconductor devices, and integrated circuits. With the increasing number of trends in technology, this puts Singapore in a place where they are more connected. Also, to the most commercial industries either directly or indirectly giving the country the opportunity to strengthen the manufacturing sector.
Another One key technology that is likely to cause a potential growth increase is the Internet of Things (IoT). The IoT includes industrial equipment and everyday devices connected to make it easier to collect data. Or exchange date, monitor operations remotely and to facilitate better decision making.
The fact that Singapore focuses a lot on the production of semiconductors means that the IoT has the potential to bring significant market opportunity through increased demand for connectivity and memory devices, and sensors.
Adoption of New Technology
While a lot of Southeast Asian Enterprises, overall, are not exactly quick to jump on the innovation bandwagon. Singapore stands out as there are several companies that are always seeking to upgrade their production process to remain number one in the industry. From the survey conducted by the International Labor Organization, it is safe to say that organizations in Singapore perform above average on aspects relating to technology adoption and innovation.
A couple of hindrances to the adoption of new technology in Singapore are cost and skill. Despite the progress in innovation and technology in the country. Companies in Singapore report that skills and cost present a huge barrier to adding new technology to their system.
Additionally, a side effect of the increase in growth rate of new technology is that the skills needed across all sectors will also increase significantly. Thus, with most low-skill operations becoming automated, the E&E sector will require strong engineering and technical expertise to be able to absorb certain new technology such as nanotechnology and the IoT.
The increase in automated operations also comes with its effects as it will create higher skilled work. Thus, it will mean a higher demand for engineers and technicians that are capable of optimizing machinery and robots. Also, the need for higher skilled workers will also be seen in the auto sector as engineers with specialized knowledge. Such as of robotic programming, and process design will be more in demand. Especially as the technology of today’s vehicles continue to increase.
Singapore’s government has been implementing several initiatives to attract more players from across the globe. In 2015, for example, the government used up to $2.2 billion. To promote and upgrade their IT infrastructure, ICT tenders in digital, data and web services. The government also invested and developed cloud computing as a means of improving productivity and efficiency.
Additionally, with all the recent innovation programs and studies a small as part of the government’s new initiative. Thus, it is important to polish and acquire skills not only for your professional and personal growth. But also to assess how new and emerging technologies can benefit organizations and businesses across all sectors.
The initiatives of the current government are aimed at transforming businesses. As well as the overall quality of life of the citizens of Singapore. It is, of course, important that you recognize the impact of the $19 billion that was invested in the ICT industry.
The idea behind the government weaving technology into every aspect of Singapore’s everyday life. Is to help organizations accept the fact that you can no longer restrict technology to one industry.
IT is everywhere today meaning that agencies and employees who wish to succeed in the ICT environment. And must improve their skills to reap all the benefits of an economy driven by technology.
To make it easier for people to upgrade their abilities, the Singapore government has implemented numerous initiatives. Also, such as Tech Skill Accelerator, Lifelong Learning, Workforce Skills Qualifications and Skills Future. These efforts are put in place to encourage the people of Singapore to be more active in their ongoing technological education. And training and to help employees in every industry acquire perceptive tech skill.
Overall, the changing technology will have a positive effect on the economy of Singapore as long as it is managed correctly. Additionally, employees will only need to brush up their skills and become more technologically inclined.
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