With retrenchments more than doubling in the second quarter of 2020 to 8,130, many midcareer PMETs have begun or are already looking for re-skilling or alternative job opportunities. Moreover, graduates in 2020 are also entering an uncertain job climate unlike what previous batches of graduates have faced before. With working from home, contract jobs and freelance careers looking like the norm for the foreseeable future, it is no wonder that people are looking for different opportunities in alternative industries.
According to a recent report by the Ministry of Manpower, out of a total of 8130 retrenchments in the second quarter of 2020, there were 1550 in the manufacturing sector, 1870 in wholesale and retail trade and 1020 in financial and insurance services, with these three sectors taking the top three spots in retrenchments across the board. With the spike in unemployment, retrenched workers will be hard-pressed to look for roles outside those that they have been familiar with.
With the rapid rise of the gig economy, developing soft skills like communication will be key for workers to be able to remain relevant and make successful transitions between jobs or find alternative careers and roles that were not around just a few years ago. Here are some of the transferrable skills that can be applied to alternative careers.
#1 Wholesale Trade / Order Fulfilment and Delivery To Becoming A Private Fulfilment Operator
If you can find markets that are niche in the fulfilment and delivery industry, you can still enter the market as a private operator storing and moving goods for a group of clients. Having experience doing wholesale trade and order fulfilment or have existing relationships with suppliers would be useful, and now can be a time to consider becoming an indispensable part of the supply chain: fulfilment of orders. This is a part of the chain that even large eCommerce platforms need help with, especially with events like 9/9 sales.
To be part of this supply chain, you can either perform delivery functions (B2C) which is easy if you have your own vehicle or you can use your home as a “fulfilment centre” to move and store products for businesses (B2B). While each fulfilment centre operates slightly differently, they all accomplish the same thing: they act as a command centre for order prepping and shipping needs. You would probably need to learn how to manage logistics for your customers before diving headfirst into this alternative job.
#2 Hospitality and Customer Service To Becoming A Virtual Assistant
With experience in serving customers, performing administrative tasks and concierge duties, becoming a virtual assistant (VA) may be a natural extension for those in hospitality and customer service who want to make a lateral move. Some of the VA skills in demand are word processing, oral communication and basic computing skills like knowing how to use Microsoft Office to assist in making presentations, taking down minutes and tracking customer information.
With major companies, like some Big 4 auditing firms, outsourcing their VA needs to Southeast Asia, there are opportunities for freelance virtual assistants operating out of Singapore. While the pay ultimately depends on your experience, job scope, and company budget, customer service freelancers on Upwork are often paid $10-30 per hour.
#3 Traditional Sales, Retail and Marketing To Becoming A Livestream Marketer
With the rise of TikTok and other livestream platforms, brands and individuals are promoting goods on these apps that offer instant gratification at the click of a button. Successful promoters know that educational qualifications are not needed here; a combination of audience engagement, interesting stories and good looks help to sell products. If you are familiar with sales or retail, becoming a livestream marketer is simply taking your experience online and promoting brands or products that you like or are familiar with.
Local livestreaming platform Shopavision was modelled after Taobao Live, according to founder and CEO Rachel Pang. At the pre-launch stage, it has already earned $60,000 in sales. This, however, pales in comparison to the whopping USD 6 billion in product sales that Viya, China’s biggest eCommerce live streamer, has clocked in a year. Given that China’s livestream adoption is 90% compared to Singapore’s 15%, our market has room to grow. With social media platforms like Facebook Live and Shopee Live, there are quite a number of options to choose from should you decide to make your mark in this sunrise industry.
#4 Beauty and Fashion To Becoming A Freelance Make-Up Artist or Beautician
For those with an avid interest or experience in working in the beauty industry, be it PR or social media marketing, becoming a freelance make-up artist or beautician can be a viable alternative career. Leveraging the skills in communicating an audience for a brand to curating your own audience, social media levels the playing field for everyone; you need not be a multibillion-dollar conglomerate to promote your own brand name.
With the rise of apps like Fave and Vaniday that provide greater accessibility to small operators for promotions in the beauty space, there has been an increase in the number of freelance and home-based businesses. These businesses offer greater convenience than traditional brick and mortar models to consumers, such as going to a client’s place to do facials, haircuts, lash extensions, manicures etc. Home-based beauty services can also reach out to their clients through Instagram and Facebook and even build a community around their services.
In our rapidly changing world, the ability to be flexible and adapt with the times will be increasingly important. It will be vital for us to think laterally and try things that we may not be familiar with; that is where the most growth usually lies.
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