Online Seminar: 'Training, Skills and Skills Utilisation'

You are cordially invited to attend the presentation of findings from the project “Training, Skills, and Skills Utilisation” hosted by the (UCL Institute of Education) and the , Singapore University of Social Sciences (IAL).

This online event will feature two presentations, ‘The Graduate Labour Market in Singapore’ and Changes in Skills Levels and Inequality during Upper Secondary Phase’. The presentations will be followed by discussants and open debate.

Date: Thursday 27 May 2021
Time: 08.30-12.00 UK time (15.30-19.00 Singapore time)

08.30 - 08.40  
 Introduction: Professor Johnny Sung and Dr Renée Tan, Institute for Adult Learning, Singapore

08.40 - 10.00    Singapore’s Graduate Labour Market
                            - Professor Francis Green, UCL Institute of Education
                           - Discussant: Dr Gog Soon Joo, Chief Skills Officer, SkillsFuture Singapore
                           - Q&A Session 

10.00 - 10.15    Coffee Break

10.15 - 11.50    The Effects of System Type and System Characteristics on Skills Acquisition in Upper Secondary Education                             and Training 
                           - Dr Neil Kaye, Professor Andy Green and Dr Hao Phan, UCL Institute of Education
                           - Discussants: Dr N. Varaprasad, Partner and Principal Consultant, Singapore Education Consulting Group
                                                 Professor Zongyi Deng, UCL Institute of Education
                           - Q&A Session

11.50 - 12.00    Wrap-up and final Q&A

The full programme and Zoom details are available below. 

Please contact the event coordinator, Dr. Hao Phan (), should you have any questions.
We look forward to seeing you at the event.


Zoom details

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Meeting ID: 926 8241 2036
Passcode: LLAKES21

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Full Programme

08.30-08.40 - Introductions
Chairs, Professor Johnny Sung and Dr Renée Tan

08.40-10.00 Session 1:

The Graduate Labour Market in Singapore (Professor Francis Green and Dr Golo Henseke, Institute of Education, University College London)

This presentation aims to present an understanding of the supply and demand for graduate skills in Singapore. We distinguish between ‘task-warranted’ and ‘task-unwarranted’ graduate jobs. For both types a degree is required, but task-warranted graduate jobs involve carrying out typical graduate-level tasks. We operationalise the distinction, using representative surveys of resident Singapore workers. We find that the ongoing fast expansion of higher attainment between 2013 and 2017 was met by a similarly strong growth in task-warranted graduate jobs. Compared with matched graduates, the graduates in task-unwarranted graduate jobs and in non-graduate jobs both perceive lower skills utilisation. There is a negative wage gap of 18% for graduates in task-unwarranted graduate jobs, and of 31% for underemployed graduates.


, Chief Skills Officer, SkillsFuture Singapore

Session 1 Q&A

10.00-10.15 - Coffee Break

10.15-11.50 Session 2:

Changes in Skills Levels and Inequality during Upper Secondary Phase (Professor Andy Green and Dr Neil Kaye Institute of Education, University College London)

In this presentation, we focus on the effects of upper secondary system types and characteristics on core skills acquisition and the mitigation of skills inequality.

Using customised OECD data on pseudo cohorts aged 15 in PISA and 18-20 in the Survey of Adult Skills (PIAAC), we estimate the relative changes in literacy and numeracy skills levels and distributions across countries during the upper secondary phase. We identify four factors significantly influencing these changes, namely: ‘vocational prevalence’ (proportion of upper secondary students in vocational programmes); ‘standardised curriculum’ (the degree of mandating the learning of Maths and the national language); ‘theoretical age of completion’ (of main upper secondary programmes); and ‘teacher workload’ (combining teacher time in the classroom and the number of students they teach). We also identify six upper secondary system types based on similar and distinctive characteristics. Singapore belongs to a Type whose systems (including Denmark, Netherlands and Finland) achieve, on average, both higher mean skills scores and less unequal skills outcomes at age 18-20 than systems belonging to other types. Singapore has a high proportion of students in vocational programmes and high rates of completion from long-cycle upper secondary programmes, which our cross-country analysis suggests supports these outcomes. However, it has a relatively low proportion of vocational students undertaking work-based learning, a characteristic which it is claimed also enhances skills levels whilst mitigating skills inequality. We discuss the policy implications of the comparative analysis for Singapore.


, Partner and Principal Consultant, Singapore Education Consulting Group
, Institute of Education, University College London

Session 2 Q&A

11.50-12.00 - Open Debate
followed by closing remarks