All existing job roles and workers in the logistics sector will be affected as logistics companies adopt digital and technology solutions, according to a report by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM).
Some 30 of the 56 job roles in the sector will undergo at least a medium degree of change in job tasks, which would require job redesign or risk undergoing job displacement. This would impact about 36,000 workers.
The remaining 26 job roles are expected to change incrementally.
Manpower Minister Tan See Leng gave the update at a visit to ST Logistics on 26 November 2021.
Examples of the job roles in the logistics sector that will be affected include those in warehouse management operations, transportation management operations, freight forwarding operations, sales and customer service and logistics management.
Manual, labour-intensive, and repetitive jobs may potentially be disrupted as they become automated, added MOM.
The report also found that jobs that were not traditionally in the sector have started to emerge. These jobs include data analysis and data management roles, software development job roles and digitalisation and automation job roles.
Businesses and workers must adapt and plan to redesign jobs, and upskill and reskill workers, urged Mr Tan.
“I encourage all employers to redesign jobs to increase the attractiveness and appeal of their roles to new and existing talents. This will also help to raise the productivity and enable workers to deliver greater value for the business with more value-added tasks.
“At the same time, this will have to be complemented by a workforce equipped with the skillsets to take on these roles. Upskilling and reskilling will have to be a sustained and continuous effort for both older and younger workers in logistics,” he said.
Workers above the age of 40 make up 63.1 per cent of local logistics workers, and those above 55 make up around 27.5 per cent of the number, according to a manpower study by Ernst and Young in 2019.
Mr Tan said that he is aware that some mature workers feel that the gap between their current skillsets and skills required for Industry 4.0 is too big to close.
“Of course, it depends on the individual's current level of skills. But I would like to encourage all workers to map out their skills pathway together with the supervisors and employers. It does not have to be made in leaps and bounds. Rome wasn't built in one day either, but you can consider small, measured steps because these small and measured steps also signify good progress as well,” he added.
Supply Chain Employees' Union Executive Secretary Fahmi Aliman believes that company training committees (CTC) and the operation and technology roadmaps (OTR) spearheaded by NTUC can make transformation “real on the ground,” especially for SMEs.
“The CTC is where we partner the management and then at the same time, work out the details of what is required for the training of the workers … And you know, in Singapore, the majority of local enterprises in the logistics sector are SMEs.
“When [the union] discuss with SMEs, we find that they are all facing the issue of getting workers and at the same time trying to digitalise and try to see how they can move and transform into the new the future of the industry,” he said.
Mr Fahmi added that the NTUC will continue to render support to the Government and business owners to build a win-win ecosystem for both business owners and workers.