Michelin-star street food and queueing up for Kanye: Singapore's workforce is changing. But how?


Image sources in order of appearance: LaborMe, The Malay Mail.

Following on from our recent look at the development of NEW LABOR - our consumer trend exploring the new demands of a disrupted workforce - we hand over the reins to Dennis Rotairo, a FMCG expert (and esteemed member of TrendWatching's Insight Network) based in Singapore. From the advent of P2P to celebrity-endorsed initiatives focusing on a new type of worker, he unpacks the changing landscape of the city-state. Dive in!

Singapore, being a small nation with booming businesses and low population depends on a high ratio of foreign workers and technology. In 2014 we saw the start of a foreign manpower curb in the country, which paved the way for reliance on technology and automating business processes. Customer satisfaction was at risk. Long checkout queues, unattended customers, poor merchandising were just some of the qualms in the retail and F&B field.

Despite of the staffing crunch, consumer demands are ever increasing in this vibrant nation. With high mobile connectivity, Singapore is turning the page, from the being relatively dependent on permanent staffing to run business operations into one-click-away freelance solutions. The Peer-to-Peer (P2P) era began. The playing field is pretty colourful with FoodPanda and Deliveroo in food delivery; Uber and Grab in transportation; and Honest Bee in grocery shopping, changing the game and upping the ante.


In April 2016, Singapore came up with its own P2P brand, LaborMe. A homegrown label and described as the brainchild of two visionary Singaporeans, LaborMe wishes to become the smartest, fastest way to get instant help. This P2P app that offers concierge service is dubbed as the smart solution for businesses or individuals who are facing manpower or time constraints. From manual tasks and couriers jobs, to helping celebrate durian season with a tropical fruit delivery services, to waiting in line for clients at Kanye West’s Pop Up, it seems any job can be requested, offered and accepted all via the single app.


The demand for the service rose just very recently when Michelin Singapore Guide awarded 1-star rating to popular hawker style restaurants. These hot-spot eating-places are small-scale and are not providing delivery services. Not even local food delivery apps covers them. For one to get a bowl of famous noodle, you have to endure a queue that lasts for an hour to three. This is where the next level of P2P business shows its strength by catering to all eventualities; from supplying someone to wait in line, collect food or even just supplying information on business hours. This is just one signal that people are willing to pay premium in exchange of the time and resources lost in the process of physically getting to the hawker-style restaurants.

Some famous brands and personalities have also turned to LaborMe. The app boasts delivery of thousands of cheese tarts from a well-known local manufacturer and hundreds of meals from Michelin-starred restaurants, doing furniture assembly for a local celebrity disk jockey and many more.

What transpires in these innovations? By looking closely to clients’ comfort and discomfort zones, businesses can craft a top-of-the-line approach towards quality products and services using the available resources (even how scarce those are).


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