A Conversation with Minister of Manpower, Mrs Josephine Teo

The Singapore Manufacturing Federation (SMF) hosted a closed-door hybrid dialogue session with the Ministry of Manpower team titled "A Conversation with Minister Mrs Josephine Teo, Minister of Manpower" on 12 April 2021.

The Singapore Manufacturing Federation (SMF) was delighted to host a closed-door hybrid dialogue session with the Ministry of Manpower team titled "A Conversation with Minister Mrs Josephine Teo, Minister of Manpower" on 12 April 2021. 

The importance of the manufacturing sector was highlighted during the delivery of the Singapore Budget Statement 2021, with the focus on the manufacturing sector's future in Singapore, particularly the workforce difficulties it faced. This dialogue session drew more than 200 attendees, both virtually and physically. 

SMF President Mr Douglas Foo welcomed Ms Gan Siow Huang, Minister of State for Manpower and Education, to the SMF Building to engage in the physical dialogue session with 50 other SMF members. Mrs Josephine Teo, the Minister of Manpower, Mr Zaqy Mohamad, the Senior Minister of State for Manpower, and Mr Shareal Taha, a member of the Government Parliament Committee, were all present virtually. 

Minister Josephine Teo raised the issue of employment shortages in Singapore during her opening speech. She noted that now the COVID-19 pandemic has passed its peak, the economy is slowly recovering, with the job market improving. However, it may be challenging to replace vacant positions due to businesses transforming at a rapid pace. According to a recent survey, a growing percentage of all job vacancies listed by companies are for newly formed positions, implying that new skills and abilities are required to shape the manufacturing sector's future. Going forward, Minister Teo encourages businesses to create schemes and programmes to help reskill existing employees or hire potential employees from Singapore's talent pool to fill new positions. 

The aerospace industry was also highlighted as it is currently reeling from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. From some of the feedback the SMF has received from members in the aerospace engineering industry, they faced difficulty hiring Singaporeans because the industry is not lucrative currently. Even though they contemplated automating their processes, they found it impossible to make it cost-effective due to the high mix, low volume production. 

In recent years, a rising number of women have entered the manufacturing industry. As a result, women leaders in manufacturing or manufacturing-related businesses make up 20.5 percent of SMF's Council. Two of the three Senior Director positions in the secretariat of the SMF are currently held by women. Therefore, as a gesture of honouring women in the manufacturing industry, Far East Flora.com Pte Ltd brought flower bouquets to present to all the female attendees. 

Attendees on the ground who might have questions or concerns regarding their workforce presented their questions to the Minister and her team. Foreign labour was one of the issues discussed, as well as how small enterprises might break into the worldwide market and what kind of assistance they will receive. It was an inspiring discussion between the Government, trade associations and employers.

Following the dialogue session, Mr Foo presented Minister Gan with a token of appreciation, thanking her for taking time out of her busy schedule to join this dialogue session.

The programme was closed with a brief photo-taking ceremony of all the panellists and guests.

Group photo with MOM team
Manpower Minister Mrs Josephine Teo (top right), Senior Minister of State Mr Zagy Mohamad (right, 2nd box), and Mr Shareal Taha (bottom right) met SMF members online while SMF President Mr Douglas Foo and Minister of State Ms Gan Siow Huang (top left) were at the SMF Building with 50 other members who attended physically.
Minster Gan Siow Huang (left) and SMF President Mr Douglas Foo (right) during the panel discussion
Minster Gan Siow Huang (left) and SMF President Mr Douglas Foo (right) during the panel discussion

 

Article is also available on e-Connect

https://www.smfederation.org.sg/connect/2021/04/15/a-conversation-with-minister-of-manpower-mrs-josephine-teo/ 

 

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