A recent study on the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on workers in six South-east Asian economies, by Cisco and Oxford Economics found that about one-fifth of Singapore’s workers (20.6 per cent) will have their jobs displaced by 2028.
This is higher than the figures for Vietnam (13.8 per cent), Thailand (11.9 per cent), the Philippines (10.1 per cent), Indonesia (8.1 per cent) and Malaysia (7.4 per cent).
The findings were released on Wednesday (Sept 12) during the World Economic Forum on Association of South-east Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Singapore’s exceptional enabling environment for innovation and digital transformation, supportive environment for investments in robotics and the Internet of Things means that businesses can take advantage of innovations as they become available.
This ironically will lead to a much higher displacement of production workers and labourers as compared to the smaller job displacement in relative terms for other countries such as Indonesia and the Philippines due to a variety of factors, including a possibly slower pace of technological change, expectations of institutional and political constraints on automation, and a challenging regulatory environment.
Singapore will also be facing a gap in average skill levels of 14.3 (on a scale of 100), higher than the Philippines (13.9), Vietnam (13.4), Malaysia (12.7), Thailand (8.5) and Indonesia (8.4). This is due Singapore’s digital transformation taking place at a faster rate than other Asean countries.
“The majority of new job opportunities in Singapore are likely to be created in highly skilled managerial and professional roles, reflecting the growth areas of the economy. Thus, a considerable uplift is required in the overall skills composition of (the) workforce,” According to the study.
Responding to the Study’s findings, a Manpower Ministry spokesperson said the impact of technology on labour market is often mixed: it may reduce the reliance on manpower in some areas, on the other hand, companies that are growing need to hire more workers.
“While keeping an eye on the impact of technology, including artificial intelligence, the Government’s priority is to help workers stay in employment by keeping their skills current or get back into employment quickly if they are displaced,” the spokesperson noted. “Where possible, it is better to intervene upstream before workers are retrenched.”
“Workforce Singapore and the economic agencies are engaging firms on their transformation plans and manpower needs, so as to support them in reskilling and redeploying workers in jobs at risk to new roles.” The ministry’s spokesperson added
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