In recent years, there's been a significant transformation in the job market of Singapore. Once famed for blue-collar manufacturing jobs, the city-state is now embracing a paradigm shift, the industry now focusing on white-collar jobs. It may be an adjustment for many, but given its success, this shift in direction, driven by knowledge and innovation, is beginning to make perfect sense.

As the look of the old factory worker fades, we must question, how does this compare with Western countries? An outlook shaped by the disdain for low-wage manufacturing jobs and a post-material world drive has instigated an interesting contrast, particularly when compared to the approach of the US and UK.

The Intellectual Contempt for a Post-Material World

Characterized by thinkers like Jordan Peterson, the post-materialist worldview places a great emphasis on the non-material aspects of life such as personal growth, self-actualization, and community. This perception simplifies the world, disregarding the importance of traditional manufacturing jobs considered low-wage or physically intensive.

In line with this, since 1960, under the influence of Drucker, the trend of offshoring manufacturing made its debut. This has left traditionally manufacturing-focused nations such as the US and UK, with economies centered around universities and knowledge workers in the service industry. As Japan adopted this approach in the 90s, one can't help but wonder if it's too late to resurrect the legacy of manufacturing, particularly so in countries like the US where it's been over 60 years since the shift.

Nevertheless, such intellectual contempt might be going outdated in the face of a new-age manufacturing sector that marries knowledge, technology, and manufacturing skill.

Retracing Steps: Singapore's Embrace of White Collar Manufacturing Jobs

Around the 2010s, Singapore began a movement, embracing manufacturing once again, albeit with a refined approach. Over the past decade, there's been an 80,000 decrease in foreign employment in Singapore, the ratio declining by 6%. Instead, focus has been directed towards knowledge-based, data-driven roles within the manufacturing sector - a far cry from the image of traditional industries.

This transition rekindles expectations for a resurgence in the manufacturing sector not just in Singapore but globally as well - only this time, manufacturing wouldn't solely be about manual labor in factories, but would encompass a more refined, data-centric approach.

The Blur of Two Sectors: A New Future

The shift prompts a reevaluation of preconceived notions about the automation of the service sector. It appears that the distinction between white-collar service and manufacturing sectors may become blurred. Whether it's manufacturing or service-oriented, both require heavy data operations. This synergy might lead to the integration of these two previously distinct sectors, much like the earlier convergence of agriculture and manufacturing.

In summary, the emerging trend in Singapore paints a promising future for the manufacturing sector, One where it is no longer in the shadows of contempt, but leading the way in progress and innovation. It appears that the world of manufacturing is set for a revolutionary change, not through demise but through evolution. The result seems to be a breed of 'manufacturing data workers', blending the lines between traditional sectors, and perhaps, shifting the global economic narrative in the journey.

Source Article: シンガポール、いかに製造業を復活させたか