Change is coming…

Every generation is different from the previous one.

This can be said for a lot of things. Humans and material goods.

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Even for workers, the needs and aspirations of every generation is different.

Within a generation there are also different needs across different worker groups.

At the recent May Day Rally, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong talked about how Singapore’s workforce is changing.

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PMETS (Professionals, Managers, Executives and Technicians) makeup 54% of today’s workforce. By 2030, it will be two-thirds.

With more PMETs, the NTUC which has been traditionally catering to the rank and file and blue-collared workers, will have to adapt its services to meet the new needs of the PMETs and to stay relevant.

But what is it that PMETs need today?

It’s definitely not what NTUC has been traditionally offering, collective bargaining or collective agreements.

According to PM Lee, PMETs seek for networking opportunities, skills upgrading and career counselling.

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Responding to the demand, the NTUC has now reached out to 31 associations across various sectors and industries to develop career and skills progression plans for PMETs in those sectors. This ecosystem caters to the demand of professional development and network opportunities.

In terms of Skills upgrading, the NTUC is working with institutes of higher learning to bring relevant courses to all working people looking to upgrade their skills to fulfill their career aspirations.

In fact, it is working with Nanyang Technological University (NTU) for a start to help advance the professional development of the Singapore workforce.

In recent years, there has also been much talk about the mismatch between jobs and skills.

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Proper career counselling can therefore mitigate these mismatches for workers seeking for jobs that meet their expectations.

The NTUC has a current pool of 50 career coaches who are its employees. But in the next 5 to 8 years, this would increase to 500 adjunct career coaches.

These adjunct coaches will be working in various industries and will be able to provide ‘timely’ advice to job seekers, such as the relevant courses and skillsets needed to enter a particular industry, and to help them in job-matching.

Hence, as the needs of the workforce evolves, it is definitely crucial for the labour movement to evolve in tandem through changes and adaptations to its suite of services.

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Arthur Lee

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