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Singapore Government

Social Service Sector media queries

Social Service Sector media queries

  1. Manpower in the social service sector

    Reply from MCYS Spokesperson
    Issued on 21 September 2012

    As of 2011, there are more than 10,000 workers in the social service sector1. These include professional staff (e.g. social workers, therapists, early intervention teachers), para-professional staff (e.g. social service assistants) as well as management and corporate support staff. Demographic trends such as our rapidly aging population will lead to a growing demand for services and by extension, manpower to provide these services. The Ministry recognises the challenges ahead and is committing more resources to address the critical issues. For example, we will invest $100 M into the VWOs-Charities Capability Fund (VCF) over the next 5 years to enhance talent attraction and professional development, in addition to raising the capabilities of VWOs and charities.” 

    Source: National Council of Social Service’s manpower survey on the Voluntary Welfare Organisation (VWO) and Community Sectors in 2011

    Reply from MSF Spokesperson
    Issued on 15 Mar 2013
  2. Background 

    With over 400 VWOs, 10,000 full-time staff and many more volunteers, the Social Service Sector in Singapore serves over 400,000 service users annually. The total manpower has grown from over 8,400 in 2007 to more than 10,000 in 2011. The sector comprises almost equal proportion of professional staff (e.g. social workers, therapists, psychologists, EIPIC teachers), para-professional staff (e.g. social service assistants) and management and corporate support staff. 

    Future Growth Areas

    By 2030, the population of seniors above 65 years old will nearly triple with one in five residents over 65 years old, compared to fewer than one in ten today. Within a rapidly ageing population, the needs of our elderly will increase, not just in scale but scope and complexity.  In tandem, our programmes will also continually evolve to meet these needs. In support of the delivery of such services, greater manpower resources will be needed. For instance, more manpower will be required to provide services in Senior Group Homes, Senior Care Centres, Senior Activity Centres, Day Activity Centres and Homes for Adults with Disability. With a significant increase in facilities from now till 2016, the manpower demand is expected to increase by 30% for these 2 sub-sectors alone.

    Making a Career in Social Service the Career of Choice

    We are working hard to change the perceptions of the sector by reaching out to potential candidates, students and the general public through various channels. In the last 2 years, there has been media publicity, outreach through annual school talks and career fairs to key target audiences. We have also established a dedicated website and Facebook page for Social Workers so as to increase awareness of the profession. More information is available at

    To continue to attract more students and mid-career entrants keen to pursue a career in the social service sector, more scholarships and sponsorships will be available under the new tranche of VWO-Charities Capability Fund. Our efforts have borne some fruit, interest in related fields of education has increased and we have worked with our IHL partners such as UniSIM and Nanyang Polytechnic to increase cohort sizes. We will also start to leverage on existing platforms such as Singapore Day to raise the profile of the sector to Overseas Singaporeans and bring back students who study overseas.

    Raising the Sector’s Professional Capabilities through Training and Development

    We have increased our commitment to professionalise Training and Development via the expansion of the Social Service Training Institute or SSTI. Going forward, MSF and NCSS will re-position SSTI into the new Social Service Institute or SSI. The SSI will move beyond training and expand its scope to become a one-stop centre for capability development and employment for the sector. It will work with WDA and other partners to drive competency based training and raise training standards. The Institute will also spearhead employment placement and advisory services as well as codify and share professional practices.

    Improving Retention and Career Development

    Last year, MSF raised funding to provide more resources for VWOs to improve the salaries of social service professionals.  There has been some progress. A 2012 survey indicates that 76% of the staff serving in MSF-funded programmes experienced average salary increases of about 11% We will continue to work closely with VWOs to help ensure that our pay levels are competitive and the salary increases are realised for as many social service professionals as possible.

    Currently, to support Social Workers, the Sabbatical Leave Scheme was introduced in 2008 to allow senior social workers to take paid leave to recharge themselves without experiencing a loss in income. In addition, they can also apply for the Professional Advancement Sponsorship to make good use of their sabbatical leave period to develop themselves professionally. Social workers who wish to take a break to further their studies or deepen their specialisations can also tap on the VWO-Charities capability fund. More will be done to enhance retention and career development opportunities. This will include a comprehensive review of our manpower strategies such as a holistic talent development framework for social service professionals. We will also explore innovative models for better retention and leadership development of professionals in the sector. An idea worth studying is whether there can be more centralised recruitment, development and deployment for certain key professions. Our plans to transform the social service sector have to be complemented by on-going efforts to enhance the organisational capability of service organisations. As a first step, we have undertaken, with NCSS, a HR consultancy project to improve the HR processes of VWOs and we plan to do more in this area. 

    Investing in Technology & Productivity

    With the significant projected increase in demands, scope and complexity of social services, there is a need to exploit technology and other productivity levers. A key lever we will commit resources to, is ICT.  MSF has embarked on the development of an ICT Masterplan for the Social Service Sector (SS2016). There will be several initiatives in addition to the development of an IT backbone over the next 2-3 years, which will enable integrated case management across service providers, greater sharing of clients’ information and better data management. On a broader scale, we will be working closely with NCSS and VWOs to develop a productivity roadmap for the social service sector.  Simultaneously, we are piloting immediate productivity initiatives in the disability and elderly sectors which include video monitoring, support systems to manage data on service delivery and attendance recording. The hope is to replicate the promising applications across other agencies and services.

  3. Update on Social Work Campaign

    Reply from MCYS Spokesperson
    Issued on 5 April 2012

    The National Council of Social Services and Singapore Association for Social Workers have received more enquiries on careers in the sector than their previous recruitment efforts since the campaign started. As of today, there are more than 10,000 page views at the National Council of Social Service’s recruitment website. There is also a surge in the number of enquiries and applications from mid-career professionals to join the Professional Conversion Programme for Social Workers supported by Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA). So far, we have received more than 300 applications, a significant increase as compared to 2011. 

    You may visit this website for more information about mid-career switch to social service jobs:
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