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Retail Sectoral Manpower Plan Aims to Drive Workforce Transformation and Make Every Retail Job Better

  • Date
    10 Dec 2015
  • In This Story
  • Reference Number NR/21/2015

  1. Mr Lim Swee Say, Minister for Manpower, announced the launch of the Retail Sectoral Manpower Plan (SMP) today. Developed by SPRING Singapore and the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA) in consultation with industry stakeholders and unions, the Retail SMP builds a future-ready retail workforce with the skills required to support the sector’s transformation. Retailers will receive support in strengthening their capabilities to enhance jobs and business models, while employees and students can look forward to better learning and training opportunities.

    Retail SMP for sustainable growth

  2. The retail landscape has become increasingly competitive, with the strong growth of e-commerce presenting challenges as well as opportunities for retailers in the online space. The digitisation of retail processes also creates opportunities for cashiers and sales assistants to move into more value-adding roles as personal shoppers, fashion stylists and brand advocates. These retail technologies shape fresh job opportunities requiring new expertise such as digital marketing and data analytics.

  3. “A retail workforce that is able to adapt to the evolving environment is integral to the transformation of the sector. The Retail SMP features initiatives to improve the quality of retail jobs and enhance progression. We want retailers to attract and retain Singaporeans, and equip them with the right skill sets, as they continue to innovate to stay competitive,” said Mrs Kee Ai Nah, Group Director (Industry & Enterprise), SPRING Singapore.

  4. “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. With the right skill sets and career progression pathways, we can look forward to more individuals joining the industry and existing employees anticipating exciting jobs opportunities’, said Ms Janice Foo, Director, Tourism Division, WDA.

    Four initiatives to develop the retail workforce of the future

  5. Four key initiatives underpin the Retail SMP in building a quality workforce to drive the retail sector’s transformation.

    (i) Encourage business remodelling and job redesign

    The lack of know-how in job redesign has prevented retailers from restructuring their business models and jobs to compete better. Under the Retail 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, in turn, will guide retailers in redesigning higher value-adding jobs and adopting leaner operating models.

    (ii) Enhance core human resource (HR) competencies

    SPRING and WDA will support retailers on 100 HR capability projects to enhance their core HR capabilities, such as leadership development, compensation and benefits, and learning and development. A strong organisational culture of people development will catalyse retailers’ sustainable growth.

    (iii) Strengthen transition from school to the retail workplace

    Enhanced Internships (EI) and the SkillsFuture Earn and Learn Programme have been introduced to provide ITE and polytechnic students and fresh graduates with industry exposure, structured on-the-job training and sector-recognised certifications. This complements the skills and knowledge built in school, and eases their transition to the workplace. 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.

    (iv) Support continuous learning

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

  6. Retailers interested to find out more about the Retail SMP can approach SPRING’s EnterpriseOne or WDA’s One Call Centre.

About Singapore Workforce Development Agency

The Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA) enhances the competitiveness of our workforce by encouraging workers to learn for life and advance with skills. In today's economy, most jobs require not just knowledge, but also skills. WDA collaborates with employers, industry associations, Unions and training organisations, to develop and strengthen the Continuing Education and Training system that is skills-based, open and accessible, as a mainstream pathway for all workers - young and older, from rank and file to professionals and executives - to upgrade and advance in their careers and lives. For more information, please visit and