Some young Singaporeans may be lamenting the lack of opportunities in rewarding roles at great companies, even after going through more than 15 years of education.
This is because they often fail to see that while they may be highly educated, the world best companies take a completely different approach to hiring people.
The global economy has never truly recovered from the Global Financial Crisis in 2008. Many companies these days are equipped with a lean workforce that is focused on productivity.
In the latest statistics released by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) in September 2016, it was indicated that Singaporean degree holders saw unemployment rates rising to its highest levels since 2009, with lay-offs similarly increasing to its highest levels since 2009.
Also for the first time since 2009, business closures in Singapore exceeded newly-formed firms. This includes many firms in the offshore and marine and manufacturing industries.
In addition to that, technology is increasingly replacing or supplementing humans in a new field of employment in Singapore. For example, McDonald’s has introduced its automated cashiers; numerous restaurants have replaced human waiters with robotic ones; security guards are increasingly being replaced by cameras and sensors; the list goes on.
To improve employability, young Singaporeans need to have skills that go beyond traditional education. As a global city dependent on world trade for growth, our people have to similarly acquire global and regional perspectives to stay relevant in their jobs.
Here are three relevant skills that would help you find and stay employed not just in Singapore, but everywhere else in the world.
# 1 Programming/ Coding
As the digital age continues to disrupt the way humanity live, work and play, coding will play an increasing role in our daily lives.
Having this versatile skill in your knowledge base would give you ample opportunities to work in any sector that you are keen to enter. You can enter technology companies like Google or Facebook, but can just as easily open doors to jobs in a bank, hospital or even a music recording company.
To add to that, coders can also supplement their income (if they want to) by teaching classes for children and adults.
Globally, demand for this skill is set to rise over 5% every year for the foreseeable future, and we do not expect demand for coders to dampen any time soon.
# 2 Sales and Marketing
Even as coders have taken it upon themselves to disrupt every sector and industry and take away jobs, sales and marketing employees will continue to play a big part at the companies they are working in.
Sales and marketing incorporates keen human interaction and communication – it requires social perceptiveness of engaging your customers and building a relationship, negotiating a deal and convincing clients of your ideas.
No amount of technology will take away the value of having a great employee out there building lasting relationships with the type of clients that your company wants to reach out to.
History has shown that great orators were able to move entirely populations into agreeing with their thinking. This will continue to persist.
# 3 Management
This term is too widely used in today’s context with everyone applying for some graduate management role at companies. Many people claim to have management experience, even if the extent of that experience is limited to managing just 1-2 interns.
Managing a group of people is a tough job as anyone who have been in the position would tell you. But it’s that skill which would be in demand in every sector. This is another job where human interaction and communication plays a vital role in achieving good results.
From football managers to project managers, these guys may not be the experts at the individual roles under their purview. However, they are experts at ensuring everyone within their purview completes his or her job well enough to achieve overall success.
In addition, no technology in the world would be able to provide leadership and guidance, motivate teams, mentor new hires, speak to poorly performing employees and everything else in between.
Continuously Find Ways To Improve And Stand Out
Some skills are hard to replace and even harder to hone. Most employers know that and hence, would want to retain these top performing employees with important skills, even during tough times.
Employees should constantly be on the lookout to improve or pick up new skills to stand out from their peers.
Continuous learning is one way to stay ahead. Whether you are coder, a manager or a salesman, you should be able to pick up new skills that improve your performance at your workplace. And it is this performance that will increase your importance in the company and ensure that you would always be able to find employment.
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