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The retraining of workers as the population ages and technological development



Singapore's workforce faces the twin challenges of aging populations and technological job losses.

According to a report on the burden of disease in Singapore between 1990 and 2017, the Southeast Asian nation of Japan in 2017 has surpassed the country with the longest life expectancy at birth – at nearly 85 years.

Longer life expectancy combined with a low birth rate has increased the proportion of elderly people in the country. As a result, the city-state workforce is rapidly shrinking, putting pressure on the economy.

According to Singaporean Education Minister Ong Ye Kung, the government has been preparing for an aging workforce "for 20 years".

Singapore is in the midst of "reforming the education system for young people," Ong told CNBC's "Squawk Box Asia" on Tuesday. However, he pointed out that the challenge was to help older workers, as younger workers were "very adaptable".

As part of efforts to bring the aging population into the economy, Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced last week that the country will raise the retirement age ̵

1; from 62 years to 63 years in 2022 and finally to 65 years in 2023

Subsidies for New Skills

However, an aging population is not the only challenge facing Singapore. Like the rest of the world, technological change will change the employment landscape.

A study by technology firm Cisco and Oxford Economics research agency on the impact of technology on workers in Southeast Asia revealed that Singapore has a workforce. The market faces the greatest risk of job loss in the next decade exposed.

Singapore is trying to solve the problem by equipping its workforce with new skills.

Four years ago, the city-state launched SkillsFuture – a program that teaches citizens subsidies to learn skills or develop their careers. The initiative aims to train older workers to "adapt to the economy," Ong said.

While Ong did not disregard the importance of understanding artificial intelligence and robotics, he emphasized the need to "well learn your current work" and to master the skills of your discipline.

"If you learn so well, you can use technology and AI to help you do better," he said.

If you are not innovative and if you do not change, technology eats your lunch.

Tan Su Shan

Group Leader for Institutional Banking at the DBS

The Minister of Education recognized that more work has to be done for workers in the coming years, effectively from one industry to another and between segments or value chains the same industry ".

He cited a company in Singapore – the DBS Bank, which it believed managed to help the employee transition between roles within the industry.

The bank trained cashiers to take over new, digital unions in the company.

While "secular work" will eventually be "replaced by machines," personal relationships will no longer exist, said Tan Su Shan, Head of Institutional Banking at DBS, told CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Thursday. [19659002] She emphasized the importance of adaptability within the company and among employees.

"If you are not innovative and will not change, the technology will take your lunch," Tan said.

WATCH: Customers still want human contact, says DBS.


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