Aging workforce a key IT concern in Singapore

CIOs in country face challenge ensuring older workers keep up-to-speed with adopted IT as their younger counterparts push new technologies in the workplace, according to preliminary survey findings by Fuji Xerox.

SINGAPORE--Amid the republic's focus on its aging population, companies here have cited training older workers on new technology as a key challenge, according to preliminary findings from a survey.

Conducted by Fuji Xerox, the study noted that 55 percent of respondents chose "training aging workforce on new technology" as a top concern. This was tied for top spot with "protecting content in multiple locations"--a reference to how younger workers were using more mobile devices, especially their own, for work.

The survey covered about 150 companies with at least 100 employees, and respondents were mostly CIOs or IT directors.

Daniel Sim, market intelligence consultant for the strategy and innovation office at Fuji Xerox Singapore, said: "Facing a multi-generational workforce has a direct impact on how future information will be managed.

"At the same time, new technologies would mean managing the learning pace of different groups of employees," said Sim, who was speaking at the company's DocuWorld conference held here Wednesday.

Ang Mui Kim, CIO and director at Singapore's Ministry of Manpower, added that it was critical to proactively engage staff affected by IT advances, especially older ones who might worry more about being made redundant.

"It's important to sit down with the older workers and work out their career path, and clear any uncertainty. Once you have their buy-in, they can even be your technology champions," she said.

Ang, who was also a conference speaker, pointed out that it was also important to adopt technology progressively in order to obtain early successes and gather employee support for the changes.

In its budget announcement last month, the Singapore government put strong focus on older workers, allocating resources and funds to drive the employment of these workers.

CIO focus more on accountability, productivity

Pointing to the survey findings, Sim noted that only 1 in 10 CIOs were ready to adopt cloud computing due to doubts over security and quantifiable returns on investment.

"The low number is not surprising. What is surprising is that security is still a concern despite being raised for such a long time. This could be because they believe issues are still not resolved as fast as technology is advancing," he said.

The survey also indicated that companies were more focused on improving accountability from technology investments, and not just on raising productivity. For example, Sim noted, CIOs expected to pay more attention over the next three years to reducing travel and meeting costs, as well as adopting better project management and coordination.

Another 80 percent indicated they had plans to either increase or maintain their levels of spending in document technology which, Sim noted, was part of a wider trend toward business scalability and maximizing collaboration productivity.