Only six in 10 Singapore workers believe they have skills to advance in their careers

17 October, 2023

  • The confidence level in Singapore and Australia are the lowest in APAC region, while workers in China and India have higher confidence in their skills.

Singapore – 17 Oct 2023, Only 64% of Singapore workers believe that they have the skills to advance in their careers, reveals the ADP® Research Institute’s People at Work 2023: A Global Workforce View. In comparison against the APAC region, workers in India (81%) and China (81%) have the highest confidence they have skills for career advancement, followed by Australia (66%) and lastly Singapore.

When it comes to skill sets, Singapore workers generally consider strategic communication skills to be more important over technical skills. In the same report, management skills (41%) and people skills (38%) were deemed to be most important, followed next by data analysis skills (34%).

Investing in Employees

The finding is surprising, given that reports have otherwise indicated that Singapore workers are quick to pick up new skills. The Singapore government has also been a proponent of lifelong learning through various programmes, such as the SkillsFuture scheme.

Yvonne Teo, Vice President of HR, APAC, ADP, comments: “While the figure may be low, this does not point to Singapore workers being unskilled. Instead, the low confidence level may be due to a perceived lack of talent investment from their employers. In the same People at Work report, we have found that only 56% of Singapore workers believe that their companies invest in skills for them to advance in their careers. This is compared to 74% on average for APAC.

“To tackle the problem of low confidence amongst Singapore workers, it is important for companies to build a culture and environment where employees feel empowered and supported about advancing their career. This will look like an environment where open communication is encouraged; where regular feedback on employees’ performance is provided; where achievements are recognized; and where relevant development and mentorship programmes are provided.

“Last but not least, companies must aim to build an inclusive culture with various Business Resource Groups (BRGs) and emphasise diversity as an important value. These BRGs in companies offer exposure to projects and initiatives to broaden one’s skillsets with likeminded employees. This can enhance confidence by ensuring that all employees feel their contributions are recognized regardless of background.”


For more insights, please read the ‘People at Work 2023: A Global Workforce View’ report here.

About the research

People at Work 2023: A Global Workforce View explores employees’ attitudes towards the current world of work and what they expect and hope for from the workplace of the future.

ADP Research Institute® surveyed 32,612 workers in 17 countries around the world between 28 October and 18 November 2022 including over 8,613 working exclusively in the gig economy. This included:

  • 7,721 in Asia Pacific (Australia, China, India and Singapore)
  • 15,290 in Europe (France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Switzerland and the UK)
  • 5,751 in Latin America (Argentina, Brazil and Chile)
  • 3,850 in North America (USA and Canada).

Within the worker sample gig workers and traditional workers were identified. Gig workers were identified as those who work on a contingent, temporary, or seasonal basis, or as a freelancer, independent contractor, consultant, gig worker, or use an online platform to source work. Traditional employees were identified as those who are not working in the gig economy and instead have a permanent full or part-time position.

The survey was conducted online in the local language. Overall results are weighted to represent the size of the working population for each country. Weightings are based on labour force data from the World Bank,[1] which is derived using data from the ILOSTAT database, the central statistics database of the International Labour Organization (ILO), as of February 8, 2022.


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[1] Source: The World Bank, Labor force, total, World Development Indicators database, February 8 2022