#SPOTLIGHT: Career Disrupted | 1 June 2019

#SPOTLIGHT: Career Disrupted | 1 June 2019

On 1 June 2019, MONEY FM 89.3 held our very first symposium - #SPOTLIGHT: Career Disrupted. Hosted and moderated by Howie Lim from The #Workday on MONEY FM 89.3, we tackled the biggest issues plaguing the manpower sector in Singapore along with our esteemed guest speakers and panellists Patrick Tay, Dr Zainal Abidin Ahmad, Jaime Lim, Ng Tiong Gee and K. Thanaletchimi. With the increasing dependency on technology, we discussed how we can stay relevant in the future of work.

Patrick Tay, Assistant Secretary-General of NTUC and Member of Parliament, kicked off the session by sharing how NTUC / Labour Movement can help to ensure your place in the future of work. He gave an overview of the current labour market and insights on the key disruption factors affecting both employees and the industries. He attributed the tightening labour market to the ageing workforce in Singapore and the lack of skilled workers to meet today's requirements in the digital age. Despite the decreasing rate of retrenched workers, Patrick Tay mentioned that 2019 is still an uncertain year given the rapid changes in today's industry. In an effort to ensure that employees are ready for the future of work, NTUC aims to assist workers in matching the relevant skills they can pick up to upgrade themselves in the different sectors in Singapore. This initiative was done after hearing general feedback from the public that they are unsure of which skill(s) will be the most relevant in their ever-changing industry.

Read: Why Learn When It May Be Irrelevant Tomorrow?

Dr Zainal Abidin Ahmad covered how we can achieve lifelong employability through training for performance. With over 40 years of experience in leadership and management across varied sectors, Dr Zainal is now the Senior Vice President of SSA Consulting Pte Ltd, the consulting arm of SSA Group. In his session, he shared the importance of honing soft skills despite the increasing reliance on technology and data in the workforce. He quoted Education Minister Ong Ye Kung on the urgent need to acquire new skills, adopt fresh attitudes and to develop interests & passions to stay relevant in the industry. One question raised by a member of the audience was 'How can workers find time to attend courses to upgrade themselves when they struggle to find a balance in their work and life?'. Dr Zainal acknowledged that the average worker in Singapore finds trouble in setting aside time to upgrade themselves as some of them may be mothers, care-takers of ill parents and more. However, he mentioned that learning can take place while working. With the Internet, we are able to access information online, allowing us to learn something new at our own time and pace.

Head-hunting veteran Jaime Lim touched on about how we can ensure that we are future-ready and how we can be prepared for the incoming changes in the industry. With her expertise in recruitment, Jaime stressed the significance of keeping ourselves relevant to stay ahead in the employee pool. She highlighted that technology is not here to displace workers, instead, should be viewed as an added advantage to organisations which intends to expand their operations. Despite the increasing dependency in automation, Jaime believes that there are some aspects which robots cannot replace - human touch. Thus, there is no need to be fearful of losing jobs unless workers are reluctant to learn new skills to upgrade themselves. Apart from the technological changes in the workforce, workers are now more receptive of contract assignments, being open to more opportunities rather than sticking to one full-time job. She echoed Dr Zainal and mentioned that there is an urgent need to actively look out for challenging opportunities to benefit ourselves rather than just the company. She also mentioned that maybe Singaporeans should stop complaining about having their jobs taken away by foreigners if they are not willing to put in the work to ensure that they are equipped for the future.

Read: How Will Technology Affect The Future Of Work?

Ng Tiong Gee spoke on how we can develop tech talents' current and future skill sets. Having been retrenched twice, Ng Tiong Gee recounted his experience of feeling afraid that he will not be able to pay for mortgage, bills and support his family. He shared how Tech Talent Assembly (TTAB), an affiliated association of NTUC, is different from other associations where they focus on helping tech talents by educating them and ensuring that they stay employable. To ensure that the workforce is equipped with the relevant skillsets, TTAB holds Thought Leadership Series monthly where a panel of speakers from the industry will discuss the current and future trends, the type of skills workers should develop et cetera, to prepare them for the future of work. Apart from hard skills, TTAB also holds talks and seminars regarding developing soft skills (e.g, What To Do After Being Retrenched) to cope with the stress that may arise due to work.

MONEY FM 89.3 would like to thank our partners, NTUC and Stamford Catering, and everyone who joined us at the event. Which topic should we shine the SPOTLIGHT on next? Let us know!

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