· 1 min read · Features

Peck Kem Low: Apply private sector lessons to the public sector

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Peck Kem Low will be delivering a seminar at the CIPD conference today

HR professionals in the public sector can apply lessons they learned in the private sector to their new role, according to Peck Kem Low, chief HR officer of the public service division of the prime minister’s office in Singapore.

Peck Kem Low will be giving a seminar on 'Delivering large-scale public sector transformation through effective HR' at the CIPD conference in Manchester today. “I’m going to share the journey that we have gone through in terms of supporting the whole of government public sector transformation and HR’s role in making sure transformation is done effectively,” she told HR magazine.

“A lot of these things are applicable to any workplace that is looking at organisational transformation,” she added. “This is not something that is only applicable for government or only applicable for Singapore.

“I’m offering some of the strategies that we have put in place and how we start, how we develop, and how we make our plans into a physical manifestation, so it's not just all talk.”

Peck Kem Low said that Singapore is facing specific HR challenges. “It’s a very small island city and we have no natural resources,” she said. “The only natural resource that we have is people. We don’t have a lot of space so we have absolutely no agriculture, and even in terms of water supply we don’t really have enough for ourselves.

“We have very low fertility rates. You need a rate of 2.1 to replace each generation, but for many years our fertility rate had been lower - about 1.18 - far below what is required.

“We are looking at a country of about 5.5 million people, but if we don’t continue to grow we need to work on a strategy of bringing in foreign talent, to supplement us with what we need and to join us on our growth journey,” she added. “One in three workers in Singapore is foreign talent. So this is a country that is very multicultural; with four main races and religions. It’s very diverse.”