Saturday 8 June 2013

Training 'gave wages a boost': Study

But proportion of workers with better job outcomes after WSQ shrank: Survey
By Janice Heng

WORKERS who complete national training modules earn more than their peers who do not, according to a new study released yesterday by the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA).

However a WDA survey found that the proportion of workers reporting better career outcomes after training - such as pay rises and promotions - has fallen from 2011 to 2012.

Nonetheless, more firms and workers say they are finding the Singapore Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ) courses useful.

The study looked at workers who completed WSQ modules between 2007 and 2009.

It compared their income a year after training to that of untrained workers of a similar profile.

It found that employees who went for training in two out of the three years earned more than similar workers who did not take up the training.

In 2009, those who went for training the year before were earning 1.3 per cent more than their untrained peers. In 2010, those who had gone for training earned 4.3 per cent more.

And in 2009, those with full WSQ qualifications had wages 5.3 per cent higher than those who had completed WSQ modules but did not have full qualifications. One full qualification is made up of several modules.

In 2008, however, there was no statistically significant difference in wages for trained and untrained workers.

The exception was trained lower-wage workers - those earning $1,700 a month or less. In general, these employees enjoyed more significant returns. For those trained in all three years, their wages were between 2.6 per cent and 4.6 per cent higher than those of untrained counterparts.

For those with full qualifications, wages were 7.6 per cent higher.

However, the study only compared trained workers' pay with that of untrained peers - and did not look at whether trained workers received a pay rise in the year after training.

That question was addressed instead by the WDA's annual outcome evaluation survey.

Last year, about 1,400 companies and 8,400 trainees were surveyed about WSQ training which took place between April 2011 and March 2012.

In general, more companies said training had resulted in good outcomes for both the trainees and the companies. For instance, 85 per cent said the training had been useful for their employees, up from 78 per cent in 2011.

Some 74 per cent said work productivity had benefited, up from 70 per cent before.

The exceptions were employees' work performance and quality of service, where there was a marginal dip in the percentage of employers who saw improvement in those areas.

Meanwhile, employees themselves said the training had helped them, with 92 per cent reporting better work performance, up from 91 per cent.

More employees also felt greater motivation at work: 77 per cent, up from 69 per cent before.

But slightly fewer reported good career outcomes. For instance, 15 per cent said they received a pay increment after training, down from 17 per cent in 2011. Fewer also said they had received a new or enlarged job scope or received a promotion.

Nonetheless, workers remained keen to go for training, with nine out of 10 saying they would take up other WSQ courses in the future.

Finally, another annual survey by WDA showed that awareness and adoption of WSQ training continues to rise. Last year, almost seven out of 10 companies knew about the WSQ framework, up from just 43 per cent in 2011. Almost three out of 10 had adopted it in some way. This was up from 26 per cent previously.

WSQ courses may be paid for by individuals or companies, with various Government funding available. Workers aged 35 and above who earn no more than $1,900 a month can also tap the Workfare Training Support scheme, which funds 95 per cent of course fees.


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