Professional services sector roadmap aims to create 5,500 new jobs annually till 2020

A NEW roadmap to help boost the professional services sector is aiming to generate 5,500 new jobs for professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) every year until 2020.

The sector's Industry Transformation Map (ITM) also aims to equip workers with skills in high-growth areas such as data science, analytics and artificial intelligence.

The target is for professional services to grow 4.6 per cent every year from 2015 to reach a value-add of S$31 billion by 2020, said Senior Minister of State for Law and Finance Indranee Rajah.

She was speaking at the official opening of media and digital marketing communications group Dentsu Aegis Network's Asia-Pacific headquarters on Wednesday.

Professional services include architecture and engineering services, consulting, accounting, legal and advertising. Firms in these industries employed more than 230,000 people in 2016 and contributed S$25 billion, or 6.5 per cent, of Singapore's gross domestic product that year.

"Singapore has the right conditions for companies to innovate world-class business solutions and forge cross-disciplinary partnerships. The ITM is an integrated plan that will enable our firms to scale, innovate and increase their productivity, while preparing Singaporeans to take on exciting new jobs such as digital product developers, data modellers and risk advisory professionals," said Ms Indranee.

The government will play a "catalytic role" by working with the industry to develop innovation platforms, Ms Indranee said. This includes setting up a data-sharing consortium which will see firms such as Google, Grab and Adobe help companies use data to drive marketing innovation.

Four new Professional Conversion Programmes (PCPs) are also being developed to train PMETs for roles in programmatic advertising, internal audit, user experience/user interface and building information modelling. This will come on top of more than 10 PCPs which have already been rolled out.

The ITM will include initiatives to grow Singapore's services exports, facilitate collaboration among companies, as well as help companies and workers build key digital capabilities. In the legal sector, for example, the Tech Start for Law programme is helping Singapore law firms adopt productivity tools.

Government agencies will "strengthen efforts to work with businesses with the ambition and ability to scale", a press statement said.

"This aims to grow more firms such as Allen & Gledhill, Rajah & Tann, TSLA, Surbana Jurong and Meinhardt, which have set up business operations covering Asean, China, the Middle East and Africa."