Jobs Situation Report 24th Edition
Close to 20 new Career Conversion Programmes to help businesses and workers in the tourism and lifestyle services sector transform and seize new opportunities. Programmes to help firms redesign jobs and reskill workforce to pivot to new growth areas in digital sales and marketing
- As Singapore prepares for a safe reopening of our borders, the tourism and lifestyle services sector must be ready to meet the evolving demands of international travellers. With health and safety as a top priority, and consumers more accustomed to experiencing the world virtually, these sectors will need to tap on technology to elevate offerings and experiences.
- During COVID-19, visitor arrivals fell by 85.7 per cent in 2020 to reach 2.7 million visitors, while tourism receipts declined by 82.6 per cent to $4.8 billion. Driven by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, companies in the sectors had to accelerate their digitalisation plans to futureproof their business and their workforce. These included harnessing digital technologies to:
(i) host virtual or hybrid events, meetings and conferences;
(ii) offer virtual tours for consumers to explore travel destinations amid border restrictions;
(iii) deliver contactless services at physical places of interest;
(iv) shift towards e-commerce and online retail stores; and
(v) provide online food delivery services.
As a result of these transformations, many traditional roles in areas such as event management, customer service, F&B and business development were redesigned or enhanced with digital skills.
- This edition of the Jobs Situation Report looks at how companies in the tourism and lifestyle services sector tapped on WSG’s programmes to accelerate their transformation journeys and prepare for opportunities in the longer-term as we move towards a COVID-resilient Singapore.
Career Conversion Programmes helped employers build a competent workforce to support business transformation
- As the tourism and lifestyle services sector transform, both new and existing workers need to be equipped with digital skill sets such as e-commerce, data analytics and digital sales and marketing.
- To equip companies and workers with these capabilities so that they can capture new opportunities, WSG more than tripled the number of Career Conversion Programmes (CCP) for the sector since January 2020 by launching 18 new CCPs in consultation with union representatives and associations (full list can be found in Annex A). These CCPs complemented the five existing CCPs launched previously by equipping workers with skills to adopt new technology as well as digital and technical skills so that they could assume in-demand roles such as Digital Strategist, Digital Marketing Executive/Manager, and Operations Executive (Digital Solutions).
- A breakdown of the in-demand skillsets and the corresponding CCPs and modules that workers can enrol in to bridge their skills gaps can be found in Table 1.
- Companies also took advantage of this period and the increase in CCPs to reskill their workforce and redesign jobs to prepare for the eventual recovery of business demands. From January 2020 to mid-August 2021, more than 3,100 workers from over 200 companies enrolled in CCPs for the tourism and lifestyle services sector. This is a thirty-fold increase from the close to 110 workers from around 40 companies that benefitted from CCPs in 2019. The CCPs will further benefit another 1,400 workers from now till December 2022.
- A breakdown of the most popular CCPs and their beneficiaries can be found in Table 2.
Enhanced programme to plug competency gaps in digital sales and marketing
- In March 2020, WSG and Singapore Tourism Board (STB) launched the Digital Marketing Place-and-Train Programme, as part of the Stabilisation and Support Package announced in Budget 2020.
- WSG conducted a demand sensing survey with the close to 60 participating companies and found that:
a. one in four (23%) was still conducting sales and marketing efforts mainly on traditional channels such as TV commercials and print advertisements;
b. two in five (39%) only started to conduct sales and marketing digitally in 2020;
c. three in four (75%) said that they would like to improve their digital sales and marketing skills; and
d. one in four (23%) felt that they lacked workers with the right digital sales and marketing skills.
- Based on WSG’s regular industry engagements, smaller, independent hotels shared that they would like to improve on their digital sales and marketing skills, and would benefit from more support in this area.
- To address the increased demand to help business in the Tourism sector pivot to digital sales and marketing, WSG with the support of STB, will launch the enhanced CCP for Digital Marketing Tourism Professionals in September 2021, which has been enhanced with new digital sales modules such as optimising sales conversion techniques and maintaining after-sale customer relationships through digital channels. As part of the programme, trainees are required to develop digital marketing campaigns and sales pitches for their companies. The programme will help employees from the Hotel and MAT sectors take on roles with better prospects such as Digital Sales and Marketing Executive, Product Specialist, and Business Development Specialist in the next two years.
- One of the beneficiaries of the Digital Marketing Place-and-Train Programme was local travel agency and tour operator Woopa Travels.
a. Traditionally, the company relied on online reviews, partnerships with online marketplaces and simple social media management, to sell tours.
b. As part of the programme, the company was guided through a branding exercise to better define its value proposition and target audience. Its sales team also learnt how to implement targeted digital marketing strategies such as content production (e.g. landing pages, EDMs and newsletters), paid advertising and search engine marketing, to better engage its customers.
c. As a result of these efforts, the company saw a 40% to 50% increase in new leads which resulted in more sales conversion.
- Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) is another beneficiary of WSG’s CCP. To overcome reduced operating capacity and visitorships and the need to implement safe management measures, WRS accelerated their digitalisation efforts by redesigning park operations and customer engagement methods. These included:
a. launching new digital offerings such as the “Hello from the Wild Side” that allowed guests, including those serving Stay-Home-Notice or quarantine orders at Millenium Hotels & Resorts, to interact virtually with their animals; and
b. redesigning job roles to include more meaningful responsibilities, such as by redeploying ticketing officers at key guest touchpoints to interact with visitors.
- To streamline its internal processes using technology, WRS also tapped on WSG’s CCP for Digital Operations Tourism Executives to train two of its HR staff, 35-year-old Payroll Senior Executive Kelly Lim and 34-year-old Assistant Manager Chiew Bee Lian. During the programme, they learnt how to apply Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to automate manual tasks such as keying-in of payslip information and dissemination of birthday eDMs, saving WRS 50 man-hours a year. With the knowledge gained, Kelly and Bee Lian now lead a bigger-scale RPA project which looks at automating an end-to-end New Joiner Onboarding Process.
- Having seen how its workers have benefitted from this programme, WRS has indicated interest to reskill more workers through the enhanced CCP for Digital Marketing Tourism Professionals.
Supporting mid-career switchers to enter the sector
- While the tourism and lifestyle services sector had been badly hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, companies are still hiring for in-demand digital roles such as Digital Marketing Executive and Digital Sales/E-commerce Executive. At present, there are close to 100 vacancies for these roles on MyCareersFuture.
- Mid-career jobseekers with an interest to join the tourism and lifestyle services sector can consider participating in the following CCPs offered by WSG where firms are still hiring to cater to increasing domestic market demand:
a. CCP for Housekeeping Specialist
b. CCP for Restaurant Manager (Value Chain Management)
c. CCP for Professional Executives (Retail Track)
Transforming businesses in tandem with workforce transformation
- As companies transform their workforce, they should also look at redesigning their business models and job roles to meet the new needs of the industry. To do so, companies in the tourism and lifestyle services sector can tap on the Service Industry Transformation Programme (SITP) which provides practical guidance on processes, products, or services that they can innovate through service design and digitalisation, as well as job redesign efforts. Since the SITP was launched in September 2019, about 60 companies have redesigned their processes and job roles to become more productive and manpower efficient. For example, the responsibilities of a waiter/waitress who traditionally takes orders manually now include guiding customers at self-ordering kiosks and offering tailored recommendations on products. Mothercare tapped on the SITP to improve customer service delivery and reskill about 30 outlet staff comprising store managers, sales supervisors and sales executives into higher-value roles.
i. Traditionally, queries were directed to Mothercare’s customer service department for assistance.
ii. To reduce customer waiting time, Mothercare integrated its contact number with WhatsApp business under the SITP, so that its outlet staff can help manage and resolve these queries immediately.
iii. Apart from enhancing customer satisfaction, the change has also enabled outlet staff to take on higher-value responsibilities relating to product marketing, including curating new contents and promotions for customer outreach efforts.
- Besides the SITP, businesses can also tap on other support measures put in place by Government agencies to transform their businesses. To support the Singapore enterprises on their ongoing journey to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, STB and Enterprise Singapore (ESG) also have a range of programmes to help local enterprises, including those in the tourism and lifestyle services sector, to transform their businesses. (Refer to Annex C for examples of STB’s and ESG’s schemes).
- WSG will continue to provide quality programmes to support companies in business and workforce transformation, and workers in skills acquisition, so that they are equipped to pivot to opportunities of the future.
For more information
- To find out more about:
a. Career Conversion Programmes, please visit https://conversion.mycareersfuture.gov.sg/Portal/ProgramListing.aspx?source=PCP
b. Support for Job Redesign under Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG-JR), please visit https://www.wsg.gov.sg/productivity-solutions-grant-job-redesign.html
- Jobseekers can tap on the following channel for career matching services
a. WSG’s programmes and career advisory and matching services, please visit www.mycareersfuture.gov.sg (QR code below) or call WSG’s hotline at 6883 5885.
b. NTUC-e2i’s career coaching and job matching services, please visit e2i.com.sg/app or call NTUC-e2i’s hotline at 6474 0606 to book an appointment to meet a career coach.
c. The SGUnited Jobs and Skills Placement Partners Initiative, please visit https://www.go.gov.sg/sguppi.