“Greener” Pastures for Singapore’s Workforce

Singapore’s Central Business District

In the face of the climate crisis, Singapore aims to harness sustainability as a competitive economic advantage. Under the Green Economy pillar of the Singapore Green Plan 2030, we will be seeking green growth opportunities to create new jobs and transform our industries. In fact, there are many economic opportunities that can be pursued arising from the overall transition to a low-carbon economy.

Green as a Force for Good

Green Economy is about pursuing growth in a sustainable manner

Finance is a critical enabler for sustainability. Finance fuels the economy, shapes investment decisions, and drives action. The immense financing needed to build a greener world can only be met through a combination of public and private capital.

Being a global financial centre in the heart of Asia means Singapore is well placed to support Asia’s sustainability journey.

In the quest to build a Green Economy, Singapore has been developing a conducive green finance ecosystem to mobilise sustainable capital. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS)’ Green Finance Action Plan facilitates Singapore’s and Asia’s transition to a sustainable future by (i) strengthening financial institutions’ resilience to environmental risks, (ii) enhancing comparability and reliability of sustainable disclosures, (iii) developing market and solutions for sustainable economy, (iv) harnessing green fintech, and (v) growing sustainable finance knowledge and capabilities.

There are also opportunities in carbon services and the carbon credits market, as companies will want to trade in carbon credits to offset their emissions and meet their climate goals. Monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) services will thus be needed, and these growth areas will lead to good jobs in the professional services. Today, there are more than 70 organisations in Singapore providing carbon services — the highest concentration of service providers in Southeast Asia. The Government has partnered local ecosystem players such as Climate Impact X (CIX) and AirCarbon Exchange (ACX) to establish marketplaces for companies to access high-quality carbon credits. This value-chain and ecosystem will require new skills, and provides an opportunity to equip our workers with the ability to seize these new job opportunities.

Supporting Businesses and the Workforce for “Greener” Pastures

Today, we see enterprises restructuring and new business functions being created amid the shift to greener business activities. To support local enterprises, Enterprise Singapore (ESG) launched a $180 million Enterprise Sustainability Programme (ESP) in October 2021 to support Singapore businesses on sustainability initiatives and building sustainability capabilities. The ESP supports training workshops, capability and product development projects, and key enablers such as certification and financing.

The Enterprise Financing Scheme (EFS)-Green is also available to enable better access to green financing for businesses that are developing enabling technologies and solutions to reduce waste, resource use, or greenhouse gas emissions — particularly in the clean energy, circular economy, green infrastructure and clean transportation sectors.

ESG has also developed and rolled out a series of courses for businesses on sustainability, which will help business leaders’ understanding of sustainability, and provide them with the tools and resources to assess their companies’ current levels of sustainability readiness and performance.

Support is also available for workers. In the pursuit of the Green Economy, existing jobs will require new skills to take on greener practices and work processes, while new jobs will be created due to emerging green technologies and new markets. Working closely with trade unions and our people, Singapore is equipping our workforce with skills to remain relevant and to seize opportunities in the Green Economy. Some of these priority skills clusters have been identified in more than 450 job roles across 17 sectors, and they include examples such as Green Process Design, Carbon Footprint Management, and Environmental Management System Framework/Policy.

Top 20 clusters of priority skills for Singapore’s Green Economy (Image credit: SkillsFuture Singapore)

Exciting Opportunities in a Sustainable Future

So, what kind of green career opportunities are out there? For starters, more opportunities in areas such as Finance and Accounting, Solar Industry, as well as Food Security will be available.

Finance and Accounting

To support the build-up of knowledge and skills needed to support green finance, MAS has been working to anchor centres of excellence for training and research on green finance with an Asian focus. The Singapore Green Finance Centre, a collaboration between Singapore Management University and Imperial College Business School, and the recently launched NUS Sustainable and Green Finance Institute are part of our efforts to lay the groundwork for a deep talent pool in Singapore, with capabilities in climate science, financial economics, and sustainable investing.

Jointly launched by MAS and IBF, the new Sustainable Finance Technical Skills and Competencies (SF TSCs) will strengthen sustainable finance expertise in the financial sector. The SF TSCs set out the requisite skills and competency standards for individuals across various sustainable finance roles. Training providers and financial institutions are also strongly encouraged to use the TSCs as a benchmark for designing training courses.

In the area of accounting and auditing, professional bodies such as Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants and Institute of Internal Auditors Singapore are actively exploring initiatives to prepare accountants in their role to drive sustainability efforts, such as in sustainability reporting.

Solar Industry

To build up a skilled workforce for the solar industry, the Employment and Employability Institute (e2i) and the Sustainable Energy Association of Singapore (SEAS) are working with solar companies and training providers to build up the skills, training and job prospects for the solar industry. They have unveiled the first Career Development Plan for Solar Technologists, which serves as a guide on career pathways for an individual entering the solar sector by charting out progression in skills, job role and wages.

Food Security

Singapore Food Agency (SFA) is working with local farms and institutes of higher learning to roll out internship and scholarship programmes, as well as diploma courses to groom talents in the agri and aqua-tech food industry. On the other hand, existing workers in the sector or workers looking to make a switch can take the SkillsFuture Continuing Education and Training courses, which include part-time diplomas in aquaculture and agriculture technology.

Of course, that’s not all! Numerous other sectors including Built Environment, Information & Communication Technology, Manufacturing, as well as Energy & Power are, too, in demand for workers with relevant green job skills. Progressing towards a green economy, we can expect more sustainability-related job opportunities in the market. So whether you are a mid-career individual looking for a career switch, or a student with a burning passion for sustainability, the Green Economy would have something in store for you!

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