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How Budget 2017 will impact Singapore businesses and workers

Nurdianah Md Nur | Feb. 21, 2017
[Updated] Experts from Ernst & Young Advisory, Cloudera, Nutanix, KPMG, Trend Micro, Ixia, Qoo10, SAP, AVADO, Adobe, Aviva and Telstra comment on the republic’s initiatives to enable an innovative and connected economy.

Commenting on the move, Samir Bedi, Partner, People Advisory Services, Ernst & Young Solutions, said: "The Budget supports the upskilling of our workforce through continued assistance to enable individuals -- whether through encouraging employers or employees on their own -- to acquire deeper skills and competencies in new areas such as digital, and help them apply these in new and existing jobs to stay competitive and relevant."   

"As business models and capabilities get disrupted by digital transformation, it's heartening to see the government putting in place measures to help employees upskill and reskill to future-proof themselves. This is critical if they are to succeed in the new digital economy," Anuradha Purbey, People Director at Aviva Singapore, remarked.

"Companies also play vital roles in encouraging their employees to upskill. For example, [companies need to] acknowledge that it takes personal time to learn outside of work, and offer 'study time' to help employees balance their schedules," said Sandy Tsang, General Manager, AVADO.

She added: "We have also worked with very forward-thinking companies who want training to be a stepping stone to increased responsibilities and promotions for their high-performing employees, so they actively include goals for the employees to achieve. [This helps employees] improve their careers as well."

V. R. Srivatsan, Managing Director of Adobe Southeast Asia, highlighted the need to focus on the quality of training. "One of the most important things Singapore can do is to encourage holistic training around digital skillsets in the workforce. [This means that] digital skillsets development should go beyond technical execution abilities. [For instance, employees today should not only be able to] analyse data, but also creatively use it to deliver customer experiences with impact."

Besides training, Tom Beach, Country Managing Director, Singapore, Telstra, believes that "government- and corporate-driven innovation hubs can also play a role in developing talents." "To grow the country's digital economy, we trust that Singapore will continue to pursue policies that make it easier for high-growth startups to base their operations here and export their innovative solutions globally," he added.


Overall views

 Commenting on the overall Budget, Mildred Tan, Managing Director, Ernst & Young Advisory, said: "Budget 2017 is a future-focused Budget, so as to prepare Singapore's economy for a digital future. To that end, there were many interesting initiatives including the 'International Partnership Fund' and the 'Global Innovation Alliance'. In addition, it continued with the themes of reskilling and continuous upgrading of our workforce. As the economy transforms itself in the digital age, these initiatives will enable Singapore's workforce to be adaptable to change, resilient to disruption, and competitive in the global marketplace."

Tan Chee Wei, Tax Partner at KPMG in Singapore, said:  "By providing support to enable companies to grow, workers will ultimately be the beneficiaries as they become more productive. The initiatives targeted at the individual level, such as the Global Innovation Alliance and SkillsFuture Leadership Development Initiative, will help Singaporeans skill up to gain experience in a global world."


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