Our Research

Here at IAL, our Research Division aims to provide a strong knowledge base for the development of practice in CET.

Our Research

As an institute that champions excellence in Continuing Education and Training, IAL undertakes research projects that examine the various aspects of adult learning and development. The data we gather and the results we analyse enable us to further the advancement of the CET sector in Singapore, and inform policy making and decisions.

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our research
Completed | 2019

Building Singapore’s Talent Pipeline: Understanding the Structures of Opportunity in Corporate Talent Management

Prof Philip Brown, Prof Hugh Lauder, Prof Johnny Sung, Dr Manuel Souto-Otero, Sahara Sadik and Eric Lee

Observations of talent shortage at the higher end of Singapore’s labour market often lead to the assumption that there are particular skill gaps or ‘talent deficit’ in locals. This comparative research on talent management in 30 corporations in Singapore, China and India puts forth an alternative explanation. Rather than any actual ‘talent deficit’ of Singaporeans, the study found that the perceived talent shortage is linked to companies’ ‘War for Talent’ recruitment strategies that rely on elite university systems. Singapore’s fairly flat university system does not signal to companies the elite base that companies can target, leading to Singapore graduates not being favourably positioned as talent in companies. India and China, on the other hand, have a small pool of elite universities that companies can target easily using their ‘War for Talent’ strategies, creating the pipeline of sponsored talent on a trajectory to top jobs. Moreover, local knowledge commands a significant premium in India and China, in contrast to Singapore’s plug-and-play business environment. An expedient but short-sighted response to a ‘War for Talent’ corporate talent strategy is to shift the university system in Singapore towards higher levels of elitism, as is the case with the university systems in India and China. However, this flies in the face of creating a more inclusive society and shared economic prosperity that sit at the heart of SkillsFuture. A sustainable way forward for Singapore is to give due focus to transformational strategies that shift the local corporate landscape towards more inclusive talent approaches. There is now an excellent window of opportunity to do so, as rapidly changing contexts have undermined the efficacy of ‘War for Talent’ strategies.

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our research
Completed | 2018

Business Performance & Skills Survey (BPSS)

Jazreel Tan, Simon Freebody, Chia Ying, Prof Johnny Sung

This study provides a new approach to study skills demand via workplace data. It identifies why and how workplaces demand high skills, paying particular attention to institutional logics (i.e. sectoral environment) that encourage certain business strategies. The analysis will provide information that are critical to the development of the sectoral intervention policy, including workplace quality, leadership quality and management quality, training intensity, skills gaps and future skills needs. Some of these variables will be analysed in conjunction with organisational performance, and will therefore provide an assessment on skills impact.

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our research
Completed | 2015

Contingent Worker in Singapore - How Vocational Learning and Identities are Constructed Through Non-permanent Work in the Singaporean Labour Market

Dr Helen Bound, Sahara Sadik and Annie Karmel

This research seeks to know how workers learn as much of the formal provisions for learning and career enhancement are designed for those in stable, ongoing employment with an employer as opposed to many employers. To this end this study asks the following research questions: 1. In what ways does the experience of precarious work contribute to or constrain the learning of these workers? 2. How do precarious workers identify with their work and how does this influence learning opportunities? 3. How can the learning of precarious workers be supported and enhanced?

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