Challenges Facing Singapore's Workforce in the Future

Essay by zmang86 June 2004

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Singapore is a small island city state in South East Asia with an area of approximately 648 km square. Despite the inherent disadvantages of a small domestic economy and lack of natural resources, Singapore has established itself as one of the top trading nations in the world, and is consistently voted as one of the best business destinations. It is also recognized as one of the most competitive economies in the world, supported by an increasingly competitive workforce.

However, will this trend continue? Singapore has a clear advantage in multiple sectors, among them the industrial and service sectors. But the competition is closing in, and none of them very far away. Perhaps this is the problem with being on top of a hill, because everywhere you look, it's all downhill. This is among the main challenges faced by Singapore's workforce in the future.

Singapore advanced through its industrial-based economy and now its focus on k-economy, with special emphasis on value-added services.

But now, look at China and India. Their rapidly booming economies will eclipse that of Singapore's if Singapore does not substantially expand its investments and efforts in growing the capabilities of its people. Skills upgrading, although not new to Singapore, is still extremely essential if Singapore intends to continue climbing the value ladder. China is already the world's second largest economy, accounting for close to 12% of all world economic activity. In fact, many analysts have suggested that the only real long term competitor to China is India itself, despite lagging behind a few years.

One thing that can be said is that China still has a high illiteracy rate, but the number of those literate and capable already surpasses that of Singapore. Another is the fact that Information Technology (IT), among the core fields...