Singapore losing out on productivity war

HRM 15 Jan 2013

Singapore’s level of productivity is well below that in other developed countries, said Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam.

In his post on Facebook, DPM Tharman said that restaurants in the US or Japan have few workers, but are able to do just as well as other more well-staffed establishments. These employees handle more duties, but are well-trained and well-paid. They are also proud of their jobs.

That is what productivity is about, said DPM Tharman.

While higher wages for waiters and kitchen staff also means higher prices, this can be offset by greater productivity gains. He explains that it is the reason why productivity is the key to upgrading our incomes and standard of living.

DPM Tharman observed that restaurants in Singapore have difficulty finding employees, especially during peak periods like the Lunar New Year season. Some restaurants have even raised the pay to attract part-timers to join. However, these restaurants are still short of people because the overall labour market is close to full employment, he wrote.

Although foreign workers are still needed in the restaurants and other businesses, the “fundamental and sustainable solution is to transform the jobs”, said DPM Tharman.

In his post, DPM Tharman said that everyone had a role to pay for productivity to increase. Employers ought to transform the way businesses run and share productivity gains with employees through better pay, while staff should pick up skills and keep learning on the job. The Government also has to lend support by helping to upgrade and upskill every sector.

Leave your comment
Start a new discussion

HRM Asia forum is the place for positive industry interaction and welcomes your professional and informed opinion.

Post a Comment
HRM Asia welcomes your contribution. Your IP address is recorded in the event of a complaint.
Name *
Email *
(required, but will not display)
Comment *
Please enter in the numbers in the box left.
You are about to submit your comment. Is it:
  • Professional
  • In your own name or pseudonym, not impersonating someone else
  • Free from rude language
  • Free from advertising
  • If you prefer not to post but are still keen to get your viewpoint across, you can always e-mail the editor.
  • 20 Aug | Frazer Jones Global HR Search and Recruitment | Singapore
    Partner with the business to advise and strategies on HR policies, coach the senior leadership team and deliver best practice across the region.
    19 Aug | Frazer Jones Global HR Search & Recruitment | Singapore
    The HR Associate will be required to support the HR Manager to ensure the smooth running of HR Operations in the office.
    22 Aug | DN & Associates Executive Search | Singapore
    Innovation in engagement, motivation and retention of talent
    Prof Veena Jadav and Carolyn Seah of S.P. Jain School of Business Management share the findings of the school's annual HR Conclave survey about talent management practices companies are adopting in different geographies
    GSK: Talent management – a serious business imperative
    Talent Management for Sustainability: Default or Design?
    Scouting for High Potentials
    Performance Leadership Pte Ltd |
    Lunch, Learn and Bond with your teams, all within 1 hour! Choose from a variety of light-hearted, interesting or thought-provoking topics that appeal ...
    Performance Recognition Pte Ltd |
    A monthly business incubator where leaders grow their skills, exchange ideas and share best practices.
    Organisational Development Concepts |
    Quality workshops packaged for learning effectiveness and cost efficiency