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Our Singapore Conversation

MOM’s sessions for Our Singapore Conversation focused on life-long learning and giving Singaporeans fair considerations for jobs.

As we come to the end of MOM’s conversations on Jobs, we would like to express our heartfelt thanks to all who had taken time to participate in the dialogue sessions, as well as to those who gave us their valuable feedback via other platforms.  

We continue to welcome all ideas and views on MOM issues. If you have something to share with us, please do not hesitate to send them via our online feedback form.

Our Singapore Conversation

Our Singapore Conversation (OSC) has brought together Singaporeans from all walks of life to paint their hopes and visions for the future and to discuss ways to achieve this shared future. To date, more than 20,000 Singaporeans have shared their ideas and aspirations for Singapore through the OSC dialogues.

OSC is now moving into the next phase, with dialogues focusing on topics arising from the first phase. These dialogues aim to generate deeper discussions about our vision for Singapore, and what we must do to realise this vision.

In MOM’s very own OSC sessions, we will focus on two topics relating to the theme of “Enabling Singaporeans to Achieve their Career Aspirations":

  1. Lifelong Learning - Continuing Education and Training.
  2. Giving Singaporeans Fair Consideration for Jobs.

Through these dialogues, we hope to discuss how we can all work towards building a better Singapore, to fulfil Singaporeans’ career aspirations in the future economy.

“By building better workplaces and helping our workers at all levels upgrade their skills, we will in turn help to develop a better and skilled workforce."

- Acting Minister (MOM) Tan Chuan-Jin in his May Day Message (29 April 2013)

Photos from 8 June 2013 session Photos from 15 June 2013 session Photos from 22 June 2013 session Photos from 29 June 2013 session

Topics for discussion

Learn more about the two topics for discussion at MOM’s OSC sessions.

Lifelong Learning – Continuing Education and Training

The phrase “lifelong learning" is heard frequently, but what does it actually mean to you?

To some Singaporeans, lifelong learning is about continuous training and skills upgrading so that they are well-placed to tap on the diverse career opportunities in a vibrant future economy. Those who continually develop and sharpen their capabilities can push new frontiers in their respective fields, and break new ground in emerging industries. With training, they can also become more knowledgeable, innovative and productive. To others, lifelong learning may extend beyond career development to a lifelong pursuit of knowledge that allows individuals to continually broaden their horizons and improve themselves.

Infographic on Continuing Education and Training

Through these OSC sessions, we hope to engage Singaporeans from all walks of life on their views towards lifelong learning. This will help us to develop our Continuing Education and Training (CET) landscape to be more dynamic in catering to the skills needs of our future economy, and to enhance our CET system to better help Singaporeans achieve their career aspirations or simply to improve themselves.

What capabilities will Singaporeans need to develop in order to keep pace with the changing economy? Are there sectors which we could develop that suit Singaporeans’ interest and that we can excel in? How can our lifelong learning initiatives empower Singaporeans to develop the capabilities to realise their career aspirations? What role should employers, individuals and Government play in encouraging a culture and mindset of lifelong learning and skills upgrading? What kinds of support are needed for Singaporeans to embark on their lifelong learning journey?

Giving Singaporeans Fair Consideration for Jobs

Many Singaporeans feel that it is important to be given fair consideration by employers for good job opportunities at the professional, managerial and executive (PME) levels.

Some have shared anecdotes of practices in their workplace where managers prefer and hire candidates of the same nationality, overlooking Singaporeans for promotion and developmental opportunities.

Infographic on Fair Consideration

Some are concerned that firms tend to take the shortest route in their recruitment process. This often means relying on a ready stock of foreign candidates supplied by headhunters, instead of searching for potential Singaporean candidates or investing the necessary time and effort to develop Singaporeans within the company.

Others are concerned with foreign professionals out-competing Singaporeans for good job opportunities as some are willing to work longer hours and for a lower wage than Singaporeans.

At the same time, many Singaporeans recognise the need for Singapore to remain open and competitive so that businesses continue to find it attractive to operate in Singapore and offer good jobs and opportunities for our own people.

How can we foster a level playing field for Singaporeans and encourage employers to give fair consideration to Singaporeans? How might we design a practical framework that strikes a balance between the needs of our large and small businesses to have foreigners complementing our local workforce and the assurance that they will consider Singaporeans fairly for job opportunities? What role should employers, individuals and Government play in jointly creating progressive workplaces embracing good HR practices and opportunities for Singaporeans?