Two Future of Skills Forum were organized by The Straits Times and SkillsFuture Singapore this month. I managed to join in the second session held on the 21 July (Saturday) at the Lifelong Learning Institute.
4 speakers were invited to give a 10mins sharing follow by a question and answer forum discussion. Let me share on the key points put forward by the speakers below.
Speaker 1: Ms Feon Ang from LinkedIn
Topic: The changing workforce of Singapore
3 key trends were observed to be taking place in Singapore
– AI and automation – will play a greater role in our workplace
– Skills gap – between available job openings and existing workforce
– Independent work – increasing number of gig jobs
An interesting statistic Feon has shared is a snapshot on the number of available job openings – 27,000 posted on LinkedIn. And contrast it with the number of unemployed in Singapore – 70,000. This shows a mismatch between the skills that the unemployed workforce has against the expected skill set required to fill the job openings.
LinkedIn recognized the top 3 technical skills as ABC – AI, Big Data and Cloud. People who are well-versed in these skills are in high demand overseas. So it can be rather difficult to find good candidates in these area locally.
By 2025, 75% of the workforce will be the millennium generation and they will want greater autonomy in their work, which in turn translate to more of the workforce employed in gig jobs.
There is this interesting video shared by LinkedIn on interests translating into a unique job role – as a marine biologist in Singapore.
Speaker 2: Mr Tan Chin Hwee from Trafigura
Topic: Focus on career skills that pay off
I enjoyed the insights given by Mr Tan and he touched on a lot of real current situation facing companies in Singapore with regards to the Singapore workforce.
He started by saying the key skills (soft skills) that the workforce will need now are:
– Intellectual curiosity
– Resilient – usually identified through sports
With regards to intellectual curiosity, he shared on his prior experience of teaching students from NTU and Shanghai Jiaotong University. The students from Shanghai Jiaotong University did preparation before hand to find out about the speaker, the topic and they were highly engaged in the lesson. Students from NTU upon learning the lesson is not graded, they just sat there quietly and appeared quite disengaged.
Thereafter he touched on apprenticeship program that he has kickstarted in Singapore.
Speaker 3: Ms Teo Lay Lim from Accenture
Topic: Building a future-ready workforce
The skills and knowledge acquired have a short shelf life. In Accenture, they used to send their staff every 18 months for training, and the training was conducted in-house. She drove the organization to use Pinterest where knowledge can be created and shared instantly instead of having a fixed time frame all the time.
Organizations need to be nimble (agile) and constantly learn. She related the case of Kodak which has 245,000 staff versus just 15 staff from Instagram.
“What you are is greater than what you know”, and with this phrase she touched on the importance of having a Leadership DNA. It consist of 3 elements:
– Innovate and experiment – able to take smart risks
– Storytelling skills in communications
– Collaboration across the ecosystem – reaching out to people across
Especially with robots coming in, it is important to personalize in a truly human way.
Speaker 4: Mr Viren Shetty from PlusMargin
Topic: Opting out of varsity to skill up and start up
Mr Viren mentioned that a lot of occupations don’t really need a degree actually. Only those such as Law and Medicine will require formal training through Legal education or Medical education. Most of the other occupations you can just do and learn at the same time.
He thereafter share about managing risks in leaving the system (Singapore education) and going into startup. It is important to consider the worst case scenario. One key point is that the skills learnt in startup is highly portable and can be more valuable than a University education.
With that the panel began their question and answer session. The most notable segment is in understanding what are Singaporeans strength – integrity and discipline.
The forum ended at 11.45am.