2024 Singapore Budget Consolidates Skills-based Economy



Singapore announced Budget 2024, with a focus on upskilling and reskilling employees who have been involuntarily fired from work, as well as ensuring current employees remain employed in the future.

Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong announced initiatives that include overhauling the current SkillsFuture programme to introduce a new SkillsFuture Level-Up Programme to support mid-career employees.

Wong, Singapore’s Finance Minister, announced that all Singaporeans aged 40 will receive an SG$4,000 (US$2,971) SkillsFuture credit top-up in May. This credit is for specific training programmes that support part-time and full-time diplomas, post-diplomas, undergraduate courses, and training for sectors that follow the Progressive Wage Model.

Furthermore, it is important to upskill and grow talent to ensure the workforce remains competitive, beyond just addressing immediate business needs. Pannie Sia, General Manager, ASEAN, Workday, suggested that these initiatives are particularly timely and encouraging.

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She stated, “Enhancing the digital skills of their workforce will create a labor force adept at navigating the evolving technological landscape,” she added. Supporting upskilling aligns seamlessly with the broader strategy of cultivating a skills-based economy.

Sia describes the pursuit of a skills-based economy as requiring significant investment in leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) in training programs. Wong unveiled a push to invest over SG$11 billion (US$8.18 billion) into national research and development (R&D) efforts, as well as the AI, finance, and clean energy sectors. Sia sees this as a sign of Singapore’s commitment to harnessing the transformative power of AI to boost its innovation capabilities. She believes it will also attract top-tier talent and create a collaborative environment that nurtures cutting-edge ideas.

Lastly, she stated that these technologies would drive economic growth, spur innovation, and improve efficiency in various sectors. She emphasized that the focus was on maintaining Singapore’s leadership in technological advancements, solidifying its status as a desirable hub for businesses and talent.

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