More Singaporeans getting higher education…good or bad?

More Singaporeans are getting post-secondary education according to the General Household Survey 2015 report done by the Department of Statistics.


Compared to 2010, 52% of the non-student population aged 25 and above possess post-secondary qualifications.

This is not surprising, since the number of PMEs (Professionals, Managers and Executives) in the workforce has grown. 1 in 4 workers today are PMEs.

So let’s ask:With the increasing number of PMEs, will the job market come to a point where there are more PME job seekers than jobs available?

According to the Manpower Ministry’s labour market report at the start of the year, there are still more jobs openings that job seekers.

But will that be so, in the long run?

At the same time, there is also a problem of mismatch between the job seekers and suitable jobs.



During his debate on the President’s address in February, NTUC Assistant Secretary General Patrick Tay shared that PMEs “are not well-matched with their current jobs”.

This was in addition to 2 other ‘mismatches’ which PMEs are facing today: ‘Mismatch of skills’ and ‘Mismatch of expectations’.

-The particularly big problem is skills mismatch. Meaning that, you have the jobs but you don't have the people with the skills to fill those jobs.-

He reiterated these points at a interview with bloggers yesterday (8 March 2016).

Based on the job climate in the last 6 months, most of those who were retrenched are PMEs. And with an uncertain economic outlook, PMEs are very vulnerable. As such, he will continue to lobby for a Singaporean Core and the protection of PMEs in the upcoming Budget and Committee of Supply debate.

1 thing stood out for me during the interview with bloggers. Tay said that with SkillsFuture, there will be a shift of responsibility of training from employers to the workers.

In a way, this is more than true.

If there are jobs, but no suitable workers with the suitable skills to fill them, then the responsibility of acquiring the right skill lies with the job seeker .

The SkillsFuture is a good way for job seekers to acquire relevant skills needed to land jobs.


Simply put, it is every worker’s responsibility to acquire relevant skills through training in order to be employed and stay employed.

This is the same for undergraduates who haven’t entered the labour market.

So it is thus necessary, that PMEs – or all workers, for that matter – start acquiring relevant skills or deepen their skills to be ready for the uncertain future.



Image Credits:, Channel NewsAsia.

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Arthur Lee

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