Mark Thomas - New Mayor for Auckland

Future of Cities: More Workers Needed

An ageing workforce is an issue in all economies, however the challenge is particularly acute in Singapore as current population trends mean the city state will struggle to acquire the skills it needs just from its own citizen population.

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In 2012, two Singaporeans entered the workforce for every one leaving. But by 2030, it’s estimated that will have more than halved with less than one entering for every one exiting.

This challenge is exacerbated when you consider Singapore’s growth trajectory.

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As the above table shows, although Singapore has achieved the world’s highest per capita GDP growth since independence in 1965, the compounded annual growth rate has been falling for some time.

These two big challenges were important parts of the context for the Government’s Committee for the Future Economy report released in February. Seven “mutually-reinforcing strategies” were identified to achieve this report’s vision, and the first and second directly address the challenges presented at the Future of Cities conference.

1. Deepen and diversify international connections
2. Acquire and utilise deep skills
3. Strengthen enterprise capabilities to innovate and scale up
4. Build strong digital capabilities
5. Develop a vibrant and connected city of opportunity
6. Develop and implement Industry Transformation Maps (ITMs)
7. Partner each other to enable innovation and growth


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