The majority of tech roles across the 23 industry transformation maps are expected to be “tech-lite” – involving the use of foundational digital solutions at work. “Tech-heavy” roles are specialised roles responsible for the development, implementation and maintenance of more complex technological solutions and applications.
So most workers are not expected to master artificial intelligence, but they will need to be able to make smarter decisions with data using simple ‘drag-and-drop’ visual analytics, or automate rudimentary processes in business functions like marketing or human resources, with basic coding skills in robotic process automation.
SOCIAL COHESION, NOT JUST ECONOMY, AT STAKE
Equipping the broader population with even tech-lite digital skills is not without its challenges.
It is generally assumed that trainees will need a foundational knowledge in computer science and programming before embarking on digital skills. Second, trainees may be faced with difficulty in applying their learning in the varied contexts of a new tech-lite role, or company.
Failing to make mainstream a digital skillset could prove costly. Around the world, societies that become digital economies are grappling with an increase in social inequality, caused by the job market being segregated into low-skill low-pay and high-skill high-pay segments.
The new digital future will favour those who provide intellectual and physical capital – innovators, shareholders, investors, and digitally skilled workers – rather than those with fewer relevant skills, who will continue to fall behind.
This could also potentially hurt Singapore’s prospects of attracting top global companies to invest and innovate locally.
For Singapore, the price of failing to equip our broader population with these digital skills may be the ossification of a two-tier economy.