Demand for graduates in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (Stem) is expected to increase as Singapore evolves into a smart nation.
More women should therefore be encouraged to pursue careers in these areas in order to reap the benefits, said Minister of Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu.
"Voice industries will be strong in our future if we automate our production and digitize our processes," said Ms. Fu yesterday at the annual conference for the People & # 39; s Party Party wing, of which she is chairman.
While training in science and architecture has seen more female than male students in the last decade, women remain under-represented in IT and engineering training, she added.
The percentage of women enrolling in IT courses at universities dropped from 39 percent in 2007 to 36 percent in 2016, while those enrolled in technical courses only grew slightly from 28 percent in 2007 to 30 percent in 2016.
"We need to encourage more girls and women to be interested in Stem, and pursue a career in these areas to take advantage of the fast-growing Voice industries and the many well-paying jobs out there," said Ms. Fu to about 400 party activists.
Graduates in computer science, for example, are among those with the highest starting salary, according to a recently graduated employment survey. Yet, in a 2016 report from the Infocomm Media Development Authority, only 30 percent of infocomm employees in Singapore were women, she noted.
Ms. Fu also urged party activists to ensure that technological change benefits users from all backgrounds, "so that we can evolve in an inclusive way and not just have a small group match and leave the others behind".
A panel of female leaders from companies such as Grab and IBM spoke at the event, with the theme "Smart Women for a Smart Nation & # 39 ;," which organized a technology market.
Mrs. Feon Ang, vice president of LinkedIn's talent and learning solutions for Asia-Pacific, said there is a skill gap in Singapore where top talent in the three most-demanded skills – artificial intelligence, big data and cloud computing – is being lost to organizations overseas.
Ms. Janet Ang, vice president for industrial solutions and business development at IBM Asia-Pacific, spoke out for "growing worries about job losses" with the improvement of artificial intelligence. "With AI systems coming up, IBM has highlighted the key point that it needs to expand and scale up people's expertise and not replace it, and so such systems need to be built with transparency and focus," she said.
Research shows that about 7% of jobs run the risk of being outdated. But new jobs will also be created and workers will have access to the knowledge and skills to perform these jobs, said Mrs. Ang.