For strengthening the capabilities of employees and to better support employers, a new manpower plan for transforming Singapore’s human resources industry was unveiled recently. This includes enhanced internship and training programmes, a national HR certification scheme and a programme to help small businesses boost their human resource function.
Launching the plan, Josephine Teo, Second Minister for Manpower, said, “Employers would need to work harder to find and keep talent as the economy transforms to become leaner on manpower. HR professionals are a valuable resource that can be mobilised to activate business and industry transformation.”
According to the statistics available, there are some 43,000 HR professionals in Singapore, supporting more than 200,000 enterprises with a total workforce of about 3.4 million. This translates to about one HR professional for every 80 people in the labour force.
There are three tripartite partners of the new manpower plan including Manpower Ministry, National Trades Union Congress and the Singapore National Employers Federation.
For transforming the HR sector, there are three key strategies for the plan. First, for those who want to be in the HR field, there will be enhanced internships for them to pursue industry-relevant experiences and training, and conversion programmes for mid-career professionals who wish to switch industries.
However, for the people who are already in HR, there are leadership development programmes, as well as an avenue for them to get certified to benchmark their competencies and experiences.
The second strategy is for employers. For them, a self-help HR portal will be rolled out in the fourth quarter of this year. It will include materials such as guidelines on conducting performance appraisals and other HR-related matters such as compensation and benefits.
The third strategy is for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) who want to improve their HR functions. They may call on a pool of volunteer HR directors from the private and public sectors for know-how and advice at no charge.
SMEs can also have shared access to HR systems and services offered by a common pool of 23 HR service providers appointed by enterprise development agency Spring Singapore. This will allow them to outsource some of their operational activities and get IT support to enhance their HR systems and processes.