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Forward SG Report outlines strategies to bridge wage gap and cultivate lifelong learning culture

The Singapore Government plans to bridge the wage gap between skilled tradesmen and knowledge-based workers through structured training. Institute of Technical Education (ITE) graduates will receive early skill upgrading assistance.

Minister for Manpower Tan See Leng at a press conference for the Forward Singapore report emphasized the importance of broadening the definition of career success to include roles beyond white-collar jobs.



SINGAPORE:  Structured training and career planning will help narrow the wage gap between skilled tradesmen and knowledge-based workers, with early skill upgrading assistance provided for Institute of Technical Education (ITE) graduates.

These efforts, detailed in the Forward Singapore report released on Friday (27 Oct), aim to foster a culture of lifelong learning beyond academic achievements and ensure equitable compensation for all jobs in Singapore.

According to the report, the Government will collaborate with the National Trades Union Congress, industry associations, and institutes of higher learning to implement these initiatives.

Various workers, including plumbers, electricians, and those in the healthcare and aged-care sectors, are expected to benefit from the proposed wage increase.

While the report didn’t specify the exact wage discrepancies for healthcare and aged-care workers, recent data from the Ministry of Manpower, published in July, revealed that nursing aides, healthcare assistants, plumbers, and electricians earn a median gross salary of less than S$3,000 per month. This is lower than the overall median gross monthly salary for full-time employed residents, which was S$4,500 as of June 2022.

The report emphasized the need to rectify these discrepancies, stating, “We must do more to tilt the scales and narrow the wage gaps across professions.”

Regarding skilled workers, the report emphasized, “It takes time to hone these skills, and those who develop a deep mastery should be able to earn a good living… If society is more supportive of individuals pursuing these careers, we can create a virtuous cycle, where society in turn benefits from better and more reliable services.”

The support for ITE graduates comes at a critical juncture, given the widening disparity in initial salaries between these graduates and their counterparts from polytechnics and autonomous universities.

“We are particularly alarmed by the escalating disparities,” the report highlighted.

Lifelong skill enhancement

These income gaps can gradually diminish if ITE graduates continually enhance and update their skills, for instance, by pursuing a diploma or further qualifications during their professional journey. The report stressed that early skill enhancement leads to better career opportunities and higher wages.

“We will study how we can help younger ITE upgraders defray the costs of obtaining a diploma. When they graduate, we can also top up their Central Provident Fund to give them a head start to purchase a home or save for their retirement,” the report outlined.

Apart from ITE graduates, Singaporeans holding a publicly funded diploma or higher qualification will receive support for obtaining an additional publicly funded diploma.

In the broader workforce, substantial investments will be allocated to support mature mid-career Singaporeans in undertaking significant reskilling and upskilling initiatives.

According to the report, workers will receive a “significant additional boost” in the SkillsFuture Credit.

In 2020, each Singaporean aged 25 and above received a one-time top-up of S$500, with an extra S$500 specifically allocated to Singaporeans aged 40 to 60, aimed at enhancing access to career transition programs.

Furthermore, mature mid-career Singaporeans will receive strengthened financial assistance in the form of training allowances when taking a sabbatical for full-time training over an extended period.

Minister Tan See Leng urges a holistic view of career success beyond white-collar roles

During a press conference held on Friday, Minister for Manpower Dr Tan See Leng underscored the need for a broader understanding of career success, reflecting the sentiments expressed by participants in the engagement sessions.

“So we came to this conclusion that the idea of a good job should not just be limited to white-collar jobs,” he stated.

Minister Tan reiterated the government’s commitment to enabling individuals to carve out their career paths and emphasized investments in providing Singaporeans with international exposure.

Key priorities also include addressing wage disparities, extending financial aid to those involuntarily unemployed, and ensuring a financially stable retirement for Singaporeans.

He stressed that achieving a significant transformation towards more equitable, inclusive, and collaborative workplaces necessitates tripartism, the collaborative approach involving the Government, employers, and the labor movement.

Minister Tan also addressed the concerns about job security and retirement adequacy, especially for those sandwiched between caring for elderly parents and supporting their children. In response to these concerns, the government is committed to supporting Singaporeans in various ways.

This includes empowering individuals to manage their career health through access to better data and information, investing in their development, facilitating exposure to global opportunities, reducing wage gaps, and providing support schemes for those facing setbacks and involuntary unemployment.

Education Minister Chan Chun Sing advocates diverse learning pathways

In the same press conference, Education Minister Chan Chun Sing highlighted the importance of maintaining a diverse range of pathways for individuals to unlock their potential at various stages of life.

“We will have to embrace technology that allows our people to adapt their learning styles and learning speed according to their needs,” he remarked, underscoring the significance of accessible and budget-friendly modules, as well as personalized guidance for adult learners in terms of skills enhancement and career development.

On the educational front, Minister Chan Chun Sing outlined several shifts, including the need to inspire curiosity for lifelong learning, providing diverse pathways for individuals to realize their potential at different stages of life, and implementing mass customization of learning through technology.

He highlighted the importance of investing in lifelong education, reskilling for adult learners, accessible and affordable modules, and personalized skills and career guidance.

He emphasized the need for educators to embrace new technologies to constantly refresh their skills and for industries to reward skills currency over mere credentials. He emphasized the importance of collective responsibility in the pursuit of education and societal advancement.

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No more 5C’s? No more Swiss Standard of Living? No more good years? Why would I vote for you? We need solutions not price increase !!!! What do you think? Ok ok, Pineapple Tart Lovers: This is GOOD FOR YOU: 1) Increase GST 2) Increase PUB utilities 3) Increase COE, ERP 4) Increase Food Prices 5) Increase Housing prices 6) Increase Cost of Living 7) Increase Transport fares 8) Increase Hospital and Medical costs 9) Increase Foreigners intake, increase job losses 10) Increase Prices on Chicken, Eat Fish 11) Increase in Ageing population, collect carton boxes, a good form of    … Read more »

The Singapore economy is really bad and there are NO JOBS!!!

Meanwhile the US economy is growing at a scorching 4.9%!!! US economic growth accelerated to 4.9% in third quarter (

PAP basturds have really fucked up the Singapore economy in spite of their highest salaries in the world!!!

The economy is really bad and there are NO JOBS!
It is time to kick out millions of CECA Foreign Trash from India and create jobs for Singaporeans!!! They are all incompetent with fake or rubbish third world qualifications. Crazy and evil LHL will import millions more of foreign trash from India to boost his wallet and voter base. He has been screwing and backstabbing Singaporeans for the last 15 years!!!

Lifelong learning looks good at learning from Indian Trash who took over local jobs to plunge our banks into chaos when offering withdrawals to customers.

And also it was justified to citizens bcz we don’t F to give birth and we’re not good enough, without spurs, can’t accept low wages, therefore Indy trash are needed.

Cheaper foreign talents will be the cause for the stagnant wage level for Singaporeans. The FTs are hungry not because the wages offered in Singapore are fantastic, but because it’s better than getting no jobs back home or accepting pathetic salary back in the sub continent. Singaporeans are therefore now reminded their need to bridge the gap. Singaporeans need lifelong learning simply because whatever jobs they are currently doing will soon be taken over by FTs. They need to learn new skills for new jobs. And when they are good at the new job, it will again be taken away… Read more »

Grandpa and grandma always ask why SGov keeps urging Singaporeans to upgrade and upskill, but all the ministers never heard of them attending any class or course….lol.
How to give them a good explanation?

This should not be a govt. initiative but private enterprises have always invested in learning and retraining when a need arises. This is another much ado about nothing venture the PAP put out when they do not want to deal with the elephant in the room.

Why MSMs Are So, So Low Key About These REAL PANDEMICS!?

what’s the point?
they keep importing those FT and pretending nothing happens!

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More “homemade” theories, principles and guidance from the regime that gave you, … the progressive wage model, ceca and foreign talent can create more opportunities for locals !!!

If I’m Boss , I prefer FT

“Lifelong” learning is great ony IF it achieves the objectives of the learner. If you are looking for a job and all that “learning” is not even getting you an interview, then it is USELESS. On the other hand, if you are financially well to do and you are bored and want to fill in the hours with something different and “interesting”, then “learning” to pass the time is a great activity.