Abstract - The Information Society 17(4)

Information Economy and Changing Occupational Structure in Singapore

Eddie C.Y. Kuo and Linda Low

Using population census data since 1921, this article traces changes in employment and occupational structure in Singapore in the past 80 years. This is a follow-up to an earlier paper by Kuo and Chen (1987) that reported the nascent formation of the information society in Singapore till the 1980s. It also makes an assessment of the role of proactive government policies in directing industrial restructuring and occupational changes in this city-state.

It is found that the long-term growing trend in information-related occupations has been in tandem and supportive of industrial changes in Singapore. One more wave of growth of information producers (and certainly, innovators) and information distributors is expected in the next couple of decades. The momentum has started, and competition from regional countries similarly aspiring to be information and knowledge economies will quicken the pace. The government has initiated fundamental changes in the educational system to meet the challenges of the knowledge-based economy. The small city-state has also long adopted an adaptive philosophy to be responsive to the ever-changing environment, either in technology or in regional politics. Based on the trend analysis, it is expected that the emergent information society will graduate into full status when Singapore attains a developed country status in the forthcoming decades.

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