A Future based on Skills and Mastery & Household Expenditure Survey 2012/13



The following News Highlights covers the two topics:

i)                    A Future Based on Skills and Mastery

ii)                   Household Expenditure Survey



Speaking at the opening of the Lifelong Learning Institute on Wednesday 17 September 2014, Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam highlighted the importance of lifelong learning and developing an ethos of cherishing and respecting the mastery of skills as Singapore moves into a new phase of development.


The Lifelong Learning Institute is a Continuing Education & Training (CET) campus built by Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA) for adult learning. The 30,000 sqm campus aims to make training and skills upgrading easily accessible to the local workforce.


The following recaps the key points of the Speech by DPM Tharman at the Opening of the Lifelong Learning Institute on our SkillsFuture.   


1.       Singapore must continue to be a place where everyone has the opportunity to succeed no matter what their starting point.


2.       We must adopt a “meritocracy for life” – one where you are assessed on your performance at every stage of your life, not just what you achieved in school at 18 or 24.


3.       To move to the next stage of development, Singapore must have a first-rate system of continuing education and training. Every Singaporean should be able to learn throughout his or her life.


4.       We must move beyond paper qualifications and move towards mastering skills. And we must respect such mastery no matter what the job.


5.       As such the Government has done the following:

a.       Accepted the ASPIRE recommendations, which aim to strengthen the polytechnic/ ITE pathways.

b.      Developed a new CET Masterplan to:

i)        revamp continuous education and training;

ii)       provide wider range of high quality learning opportunities; and

iii)     enable all Singaporeans, regardless of qualifications, to build and deepen their skills throughout their careers.


c.       Set up a new SkillsFuture Council bringing together Government agencies, labour unions and employers  to drive this new plan forward.

6.       We want to help everyone develop the skills relevant to the future, and we must build a future based on skills and mastery, in every job.

7.       This requires a national effort. We all have a role to play – Government, individuals, employers, training and learning institutions.

  • ·      More Information on SkillsFuture will be released soon
  • ·      More information on CET Masterplan 2020:


  • ·      For a summary of DPM Tharman’s Speech, please see Annex A




The Department of Statistics released its Household Expenditure Survey (HES) 2012/13. The HES is conducted once every five years and includes topics such as household consumption expenditure, households’ income, socio-economic characteristics and ownership of selected consumer durables.


A total of 11,050 households were interviewed between October 2012 and September 2013. These included HDB dwellings, condominiums and other apartments, landed properties and other types of dwellings. The selected sample was representative of the broad national dwelling type distribution.


The following highlights the main findings of the HES 2012/2013.


1.       Singapore resident households are earning more compared to 5 years ago

  • ·           Average monthly household incomes from all sources rose – average income was $10,500 in 2012/2013 compared to $8,110 in 2007/2008.

2.      Households across all income groups saw their incomes rise during this period.

  • ·           Those in the lower to middle income groups (up to 60th percentile) saw their income increase faster than those in the top 40% with those in the lowest 20% income group experiencing the fastest growth.
  • ·           Households in the lowest 20% income group also saw their income increase at a faster rate between 2007/2008 and 2012/2013 than in the period 2002/03 to 2007/08.


3.       While households are spending more, their income has grown more than their expenses.

  • ·           Compared to the rise in average household income (5.3% per annum), average household expenditure rose by a lower 4.4 % per annum.
  • ·           Expenses increased partly because households are buying better quality and higher-end products and services.
  • ·           For example, they are spending more on eating out at restaurants, cafes and pubs.


4.       Households are enjoying a better standard of living.

  • ·           There is rising ownership of household durables. Ownership of TV and washing machines is near universal. More households also own better quality items like LCD and LED TVs compared to CRT TVs.
  • ·           More also own mobile phones, personal computers and have air conditioning in their homes. Ownership of these items has increased not only among the higher income groups but also the lower income groups.


5.       Government transfers amounted to a significant share of household income for lower income groups.

  • ·           The bottom 20% households received government transfers amounting to 90% of their annual household income before the transfers.
  • ·           These include regular transfers like Workfare Income Supplement and GST vouchers; government subsidies/rebates such as Education and Child Care subsidies which offset expenditure; and ad-hoc transfers such as baby bonus.



Detailed findings on HES 2012/13: http://www.singstat.gov.sg/publications/publications_and_papers/household_income_and_expenditure/household.html


Related Articles on HES 2012/13: