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Opening remarks at Seedly Personal Finance Festival

Dr Tan See Leng, Minister for Manpower, Sands Expo and Convention Centre

Mr Yeap Ming Feng, Head of Seedly

Ladies and Gentlemen


  1. A very good morning!
  2. To prepare for my speech today, I asked the organisers what everyone would be interested in. I’m told that about two-thirds of you here are interested in planning for retirement, and many of you want to achieve FIRE – Financial Independence; Retire Early. It is my pleasure to be here, but I think it would be a little ironic for the Manpower Minister to lead a discussion on how we can all stop working. Personally, I also believe that we must always find a purpose for ourselves, be it through work, family or volunteering in the community, so that we have a reason to wake up and keep going each morning. So today, for those of us who are still in the workforce, please allow me to offer some ideas on how we can achieve a different “fire”, the one in our bellies as we continue to push ahead to make our country the most vibrant ecosystem globally.
  3. First, identify opportunities and growth areas. Those of you who invest will know that while some companies may be thriving today, tomorrow's winners could be entirely different. Just as most of you would not pour all your money into a single stock, you should not expect that your current skill set will carry you through your entire career. With the accelerating pace of transformation and disruption, what was once in high demand may now be obsolete. Conversely, there are new growth areas like the green economy and artificial intelligence that will create new and exciting opportunities for our businesses and workers.
  4. Wouldn’t it be great if someone came up with a playbook of changing industry needs and the skills to thrive in the future economy? So that all of us know how to prepare ourselves for the future of work and overcome disruptions that occur at high frequencies. I would like to reassure all that that is exactly what the Government has planned for and will continue to invest in.
  5. Workforce Singapore or WSG has worked with industry partners to launch the Jobs Transformation Maps, or JTMs, to provide detailed insights into the impact of technology and automation on industries and their workforce. The JTMs serve as a guide for businesses to transform jobs and help workers acquire new skills as existing job roles evolve and new ones emerge. A total of 16 JTMs have been completed, covering some 1.5 million or 60% of resident workers. We will progressively launch four more in growth areas such as Generative AI and Sustainable Finance.
  6. This brings me to my next point. After identifying growth areas, you need to position yourself to catch the uplift in emerging sectors. We all need to take charge of our own career health. Instead of acting only when things go wrong, proactively keep your skills relevant, stay on top of the competition to seize the new opportunities. The Government will support you and businesses to do this.
  7. One tool at your service is CareersFinder. It is a new feature WSG launched last year on the MyCareersFuture portal. CareersFinder makes use of data and AI to recommend new career pathways and training options, based on your occupation and skills profile. All you need to do is answer four questions in a short quiz about your skills and career interests.
  8. I also recently announced significant enhancements to WSG’s Career Conversion Programmes. Previously, Job Redesign and Reskilling Career Conversion Programmes could only be used to reskill existing employees who were at risk of redundancy. Moving forward, the programmes will support employers who are proactively reskilling existing workers to take on growth job roles identified under Industry Transformation Maps and JTMs. Additionally, we have increased the salary support caps and training allowance caps for the programmes. Let me give you an example. Mr Muhamad Haikal Zahar was previously a teacher with the Ministry of Education. He decided to seek a new career 3 years ago and found the Technology in Finance Immersion Programme offered by the Institute of Banking and Finance in partnership with WSG. He underwent six months of structured training under the Data Analytics track to build his foundational skills before going a year of on-the-job training at DBS. I am pleased to say that Mr Zahar has successfully transitioned to a data analyst role at DBS, playing a pivotal role in helping DBS consumer banking operation draw timely and accurate insights by providing analytics support and developing control tower dashboards.
  9. Overseas experience is another asset for career progression, especially for corporate leadership positions. There are several programmes that support Singaporeans to venture overseas as part of career development. Later this year, WSG will launch a new Overseas Markets Immersion Programme, or OMIP. For businesses with overseas expansion plans, OMIP will provide support to send employees with little to no overseas market experience for overseas postings. This is so that employees can gain on-the-job and in-market experience needed to take on global or regional roles with good prospects. If you are looking to level up in your career and contribute to your companies’ growth through overseas work experience, I encourage you to initiate a career development discussion with your employer to support your reskilling journey once it is launched.
  10. For those who are just starting out in your careers and have a strong interest in working with promising high-growth Singapore enterprises with overseas outfits in different markets, you may be happy to hear about the Singapore Global Executive Programme (SGEP). This is in partnership with Enterprise Singapore. All of these programmes help to uplift our younger Singaporeans to be able to gain that overseas exposure to build their careers.
  11. It is heartening to see so many of you taking an interest in managing your personal finance. I am glad that Seedly has invited me today because for most of us, our skillsets and what we bring to the table will determine a large part of our income. So remember, the most valuable investment you can make is in yourself.
  12. That being said, knowing how to manage our personal finances is important too. Seedly has been a valuable partner in raising financial literacy in Singapore. Like Seedly, MoneySense is another platform that offers resources and programmes to make money matters simple and intuitive for everyone. The MoneySense Council is co-chaired by the Monetary Authority of Singapore and the Ministry of Manpower, and our aim is to help Singaporeans make sound financial decisions.
  13. If you go on to the MoneySense website, you can find new financial guides tailored to address the financial needs and challenges faced by different age groups at various life stages. The guides are designed to provide practical and relevant insights into budgeting, saving, investing, insurance and managing debt, all of which are essential components of our financial well-being. These complement Seedly’s efforts.
  14. In closing, today I’ve shared about CareersFinder, Career Conversion Programmes and opportunities to work overseas. Please make full use of these tools and opportunities to invest in yourselves, to increase your marketability and unlock new avenues for personal and professional growth. Tap on the resources by Seedly and MoneySense to make informed decisions when it comes to personal finances. With that, I would like to wish everyone a fruitful festival ahead. Thank you.