Technical/Hard skills may be the ones most commonly listed on resumes, but a recent study by the Singapore Management University, in partnership with J.P. Morgan, shows that soft skills are the ones that many economies in the region are lacking.
The study looked at the skills challenges in countries that are part of the Association of South East Asian Nations, or ASEAN, especially Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.
Results showed that even in government programs, like SkillsFuture in Singapore, participants and employees were receiving sufficient training in hard skills, but soft skills, or the abilities that can be taken across jobs, were being pushed aside.
Soft skills are the characteristics and skills that employees can use anywhere they go, such as common sense, interpersonal and social skills, communication skills, and character traits. They are important for relationships with others, which is something all employees need at any level of employment.
SkillsFuture, the Singapore government’s national effort to improve the education, training and careers of their residents and workers, has made significant strides toward giving employees the teachable, specific skills that are measurable, or hard skills training.
However, the lack of soft skills is one area in which the Singaporean economy needs improvement. The report also showed other factors and shortages that may be impacting the economy.
- Singapore, right now, has a high reliance on foreign workers. As a result, the study notes that redesigning or restructuring jobs to better use technology and increase productivity could help to reduce this reliance on foreign workers.
- There is a definite lack of skilled middle and senior-level professionals in the cybersecurity fields. Much of this is due to lack of training programs and paths to entry for those looking for mid-career switch into the field.
- Skill gaps are also present in the info-communications technology, electronics, electronics manufacturing, finance and insurance fields. Furthermore, employers are having a hard time attracting qualified professionals into these fields because of pay cuts that many will experience, along with the extensive knowledge needed for success.