Skills and Productivity: Stage One

Conducted from 2011 - 2013


Professor Johnny Sung, Principal Research Fellow [Read Bio]
Institute for Adult Learning

Catherine Ramos, Senior Research Officer 

Institute for Adult Learning

Fiona Loke, Research Officer [Read Bio]
Institute for Adult Learning

Professor Emeritus David Ashton
Honorary Professor at Cardiff University and Emeritus Professor at Leicester University


What is the question?

What is the nature of the relationships between productivity and skills in three of the priority industries (e.g. Hotel, Electronics, and Infocomm)?


Why is it important?

The Economic Strategy Committee report identified the need for Singapore to improve the skills of its labour force and the productivity of companies in order to meet the challenges of the next phase of economic growth. In order to respond to this challenge, and devise strategies to upgrade the skills of the adult labour force, it is important that IAL and the CET sector have a better knowledge of how the changes in companies’ productivity are related to the their skill requirements.


How is the research being done?

The research will be case studies-based. In Stage 1, three sectors will be covered, namely Hotels, Manufacturing and Infocomm. These sectors have been chosen after initial discussions with the WDA Front Line Divisions (FLDs) and the Ministry of Manpower (MOM).

The criteria include the priority sectors identified by the government that has potential for further growth, appropriateness for testing our methodology, sector contrast and potentially very different productivity issues involved. Each of these sectors will last 4 months, and at the end of the fourth month, a report will be produced.

Twelve cases are scheduled to be included in each sector. This is thought to be appropriate given the amount of time, resources and research problems to be tackled. It is not ruled out that the exact number of cases may vary slightly, if it is methodologically appropriate to do so. The semi-structured interviews will be guided by the theoretical issues found in the literature. The case studies will be returned to the interviewees for additional comments and confirmation to help improve the quality of our interpretation.


How are we progressing?

The interviews and writing of the case studies for the hotel sector are finished; and we are in the stage of writing the main report for this particular sector. Interviews on the manufacturing and infocomm sectors are currently ongoing.

To view other projects, please click here.