PROFESSIONALS in Singapore are more willing to trade climbing the corporate ladder for acquiring new skills.

The results from Kelly Global Workforce Index showed that 51 per cent of Singapore respondents opted for new skills, placing lesser weight on securing a pay rise or promotion.

Malaysia (43 per cent) follows Singapore in this aspect, while Hong Kong (42 per cent), Thailand (37 per cent), China (35 per cent) and Indonesia (30 per cent) trail behind.

The survey, which looks at career development, found that 55 per cent of respondents say that they would be prepared to trade higher pay and/or career advancement for the chance to learn new skills at work.

Mark Hall, vice-president and country manager of Kelly Services Singapore, said: "Climbing the corporate ladder is clearly important to people, but frequently not as important as developing the skills that will give them the capability and confidence to realise their long-term potential."

The findings of the survey showed that in Singapore, employer-provided training, mentoring and outsourced training are the most popular resources in terms of preparing for career growth.

In Singapore, 44 per cent of respondents say that they have had a career development discussion with their employer in the past year, higher than the global average by 6 per cent.

Of those who have had the discussion, 56 per cent felt that it had been helpful in terms of acquiring new skills, while half of them thought that it was positive in terms of advancement opportunities.

Mr Hall said that the findings highlight the importance of skills acquisition.

"Many employers will often reward staff with a promotion, but it may be more effective to invest in training and professional development that provide the skills to stay competitive in a rapidly changing economy.

"In this respect, the recent recommendations from the Aspire Committee are very encouraging, and will make it even easier for employers in Singapore to support the continuous development of their staff."

The index canvassed responses from about 230,000 people across 31 countries, including more than 1,500 in Singapore.