Retail sector employers can look forward to support in strengthening their capabilities to enhance jobs and business models, as part of the newly-announced five-year retail sectoral manpower plan (SMP).

In addition, employees and students can look forward to better learning and training opportunities.

The plan, second in the series of five SMPs to be rolled out by Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower (MOM), was announced by Manpower Minister, Lim Swee Say.

It was developed by SPRING Singapore and the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA) in consultation with industry stakeholders and unions.

It aims to build a future-ready retail workforce with skills to support the sector’s transformation.

4 initiatives to develop the retail workforce of the future

1. Encourage business remodelling and job redesign: The lack of know-how in job redesign has prevented retailers from restructuring their business models and jobs.

Under the SMP, a business remodelling and job redesign study will be conducted to identify skills and training needs for retail jobs of the future.

The findings will guide retailers in redesigning higher value-adding jobs and adopting leaner operating models.

2. Enhance core HR competencies: SPRING and WDA will support retailers on 100 HR capability projects, such as leadership development, compensation and benefits, and learning and development.

3. Strengthen transition from school to the retail workplace: The SMP referred to the Enhanced Internships (EI) and the SkillsFuture Earn and Learn Programme.

These were introduced to provide ITE and polytechnic students and fresh graduates with industry exposure, structured on-the-job training and sector-recognised certifications.

SPRING and WDA will launch more SkillsFuture Earn and Learn job roles, and work with retailers to test-bed new job roles for the EI to prepare interns for future skills needs.

4. Support continuous learning: The Skills Framework for Retail will be developed to map skills
needs with career progression pathways.

Programmes such as the SkillsFuture Study Award for Retail Sector and Leadership Development Initiative will also support the deepening of future skills.

SPRING and WDA will continue to collaborate with the retail sector and trade unions to address future skills needs, through the launch of new programmes, and enhancements to existing courses.

ALSO READ: MOM announces plan to develop future leaders of the hotel industry

What else does the SMP entail?

E-commerce was identified as an area of opportunity, which allows cashiers and sales assistants to move into more value-adding roles as personal shoppers, fashion stylists and brand advocates.

In turn, this creates fresh job opportunities requiring new expertise such as digital marketing and data analytics.

Kee Ai Nah, group director for industry and enterprise at SPRING Singapore, noted: “We want retailers to attract and retain Singaporeans, and equip them with the right skill sets, as they continue to innovate to stay competitive.”

Janice Foo, director of the WDA’s tourism division, added: “With the Retail SMP, enterprises can focus on job redesign and creating stronger HR capabilities to attract talent and maximise employee capability.”

“Together with the industry and unions, emerging skills have been identified to support the new retail formats.”

ALSO READ: How retail sector employers manage staff in the busy holiday season

Image: Shutterstock

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