IPS Singapore Perspectives 2023

Forward Singapore: Renewing our social compact on the future of work

Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong spoke to 1,000 guests from public service, private sector, civic groups and academia on 16th January 2023 at IPS Singapore Perspectives 2023: Work.

DPM Lawrence Wong’s delivering his opening remarks at IPS Singapore Perspectives 2023: Work session on 16 January 2023.

 DPM Lawrence Wong delivering his opening remarks at IPS Singapore Perspectives 2023: Work session on 16 January 2023. (Credit: MCI / Kevin) 

In his opening remarks, DPM Wong emphasised that good jobs and work will remain a key pillar for inclusive growth in Singapore. He outlined the strategies that the Government will take to tackle the challenges in a changing work environment.

Understanding the future challenges we will face in The Future of Work

“Work is not just a source of income. It's also about dignity and purpose in life. And it's crucial to our social compact. It's central to our system of meritocracy, where we want every citizen to progress and excel, regardless of their starting point in life.”

- DPM Lawrence Wong's opening address at the IPS Singapore Perspectives 2023: Work on 16 January 2023.


DPM Wong shared three challenges that would adversely impact our social compact if left unaddressed.

 ● Future of Work: Technological advancements are changing the nature of jobs, and there will be new jobs emerging from science and technological developments. This poses challenges for Singapore’s social compact as not everyone would be able to benefit equally from these changes. This would create career anxiety, especially among older, mid-career workers and those who are unable to adapt to these changes are at risk of becoming obsolete.

 ● Security of Work: Singapore’s Central Provident Fund (CPF) system has supported Singaporeans to retire sustainably and responsibly. However, with more disruptions in the economy, Singaporeans will find it harder to consistently build up their CPF savings.

 ● Reward of Work: DPM Wong highlighted the need to make rewards fairer and more equitable. An overemphasis on formal qualifications could exacerbate income inequality and perpetuate mismatches of skills, interests, and jobs.

A participant posing a question to DPM Lawrence Wong during the dialogue session.

 A participant posing a question to DPM Lawrence Wong during the dialogue session. (Credit: MCI / Kevin)  


Strategies For The Future of Work

“Work has evolved, and will continue to evolve. But good jobs and work will always remain a key pillar of our social compact in Singapore.”

- DPM Lawrence Wong's opening address at the IPS Singapore Perspectives 2023: Work on 16 January 2023.


Participants interacting with one another at the IPS Singapore Perspectives 2023: Work on 16 th January 2023.

Participants interacting with one another at the IPS Singapore Perspectives 2023: Work on 16th January 2023. (Credit: MCI / Kevin)

To tackle the challenges outlined above, DPM Wong outlined three strategies that citizens and the government can use to improve Work in our refreshed social compact. 

 ● Redouble our investments in skills and human capital. Workers will expect multiple careers and a constant evolution of work in their lifetime. This means workers would require robust skills training programmes to remain relevant and competitive. While the government can craft policies such as re-employment and skills-training support, employers, training providers, workers must invest substantially in strengthening our ecosystem so that all workers can enjoy improved pathways to better jobs. 

 ● Bolster retirement security. DPM Wong assured that all Singaporeans will be able to meet their retirement needs as long as they work and contribute consistently to their CPF. He stressed that the government will continue strengthening CPF coverage and find ways to care for vulnerable segments of society, such as older workers, persons with disabilities and those without the ability to work to ensure everyone peace of mind over their retirement needs as they grow old.

 ● Invest in quality jobs. As a society, we need to embrace a broader definition of good jobs and recognise skills and competencies rather than be overly focus on paper qualifications. While the government continues to lead initiatives such as the Progressive Wage Model to improve the salaries and recognition of workers across all industries, Singaporeans can also do their part. Employers can do more to hire, train, and recognise all workers and consumers must be willing to pay more for goods and services to uplift workers’ wages.

“We will ensure that Singapore remains a place where everyone can progress throughout life; contribute meaningfully to society; and forge fulfilling and dignified lives with greater assurance for today and tomorrow.”

- DPM Lawrence Wong's opening address at the IPS Singapore Perspectives 2023: Work on 16 January 2023.


Join the conversation in charting our journey to refresh our social compact here.


Published on 15th February 2023.


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