The Ministry of Manpower has released 12 updates of its Jobs Situation Report since early August. In these reports, MOM typically highlights sectors that are doing well and continuing to offer jobs, as well as provide an update on the jobs market in Singapore.
Another thing that is detailed in these Jobs Situation Report is the transferrable skills that employers are looking for in this difficult jobs market.
Why Are Transferrable Skills Important?
Transferrable skills are those that employees can take from one industry to another. In the current economic climate, this is going to play an important role, especially because there are distinct sectors that are affected very badly and on the opposite spectrum, where many sectors are booming.
Retrenched employees from the hardest hit sectors – aviation, aerospace, tourism, hospitality and events – are unlikely to be able to find jobs from within their sector, as most other companies are badly impacted and likely not hiring either. They need to find jobs from sectors that are growing.
On the other hand, the sectors that are booming – biomedical sciences, precision engineering, electronics, financial services, technology platforms, media and supermarkets – will find it difficult to find the right talent to expand.
While these companies can use the pandemic as an opportunity to grow, the “right talent” likely already have jobs with other companies within the sectors doing well.
Moreover, with the overhang of COVID-19, employees within these sectors may also prioritise stability over the risk of not fitting in or doing a good enough job in a new role.
This is why companies in growing sector may need to zoom in on quality employees with transferrable skills in the jobs market today.
Top 6 Transferrable Skills That Employers Are Looking For During COVID-19
As the saying goes, or one saying we’ve heard, “a good leader is also a good follower”. If employers are able to get in a high quality individual who is motivated to learn and improve within the company, he or she will no doubt be a valuable addition in the longer term.
Those in a leadership position knows what it takes to lead people and/or projects, and get the job done. While such employees may not have the exact skills match in another sector, they may be the right fit in non-technical roles or can be trained via the Professional Conversion Programme to gain relevant knowledge on new roles.
Many of the Jobs Situation Report also listed leadership in other words as well, such as “project management”, “strategy development” or “operations management”.
Having effective communications is another transferrable skills that comes up in MOM’s Jobs Situation Reports. In the working world, you often hear about meetings that could be emails or employees complaining about superiors who do not know what they want. These are hallmarks of poor communications within the team.
Having good communication skills doesn’t need to come from management or bosses either. Each and every employee in the company needs to have good communication skills because there is rarely an isolated role that does not require employees to communicate with anyone to achieve their objectives.
Innovation is another highly-prized skill. It also comes in the form of other descriptive terms, from varied sectors, such as “continuous process improvement”, “production planning”, “customer experience innovation” or “good manufacturing practice implementation”.
Those who are innovative, and can point to leading change in their organisations, are typically adaptive individuals – who should be able to fit into the new normal in the working world and into new organisations or sectors – and they will go out of their way to learn skills required to succeed.
Moreover, a person leading innovation in another industry can provide a different perspective and bring best practices from an entirely different sector.
#4 Analytical Skills
Nobody should be surprised to learn that this is an in-demand skill. The good thing is that someone with analytical skills in one industry may quickly be able to transfer their skills and knowledge into another industry.
Analytical skills can also be applied to various departments within a company, from customer service to marketing to production and financial management. Thus, there may not even be a great deal of adjustment required for the employee.
#5 Business Development
Someone who was good at business development or sales in another sector may be the easiest to transit into an entirely different sector.
To be good at building relationships, selling and servicing clients, employees need good product knowledge. Beyond that, there are also soft skills that are highly transferrable for doing a good job, including good interpersonal and communications skills, being able to manage people and projects, having leadership and more.
#6 Digital Skills
Having “digital skills” is quite broad, which also makes it a highly transferrable skill set. Sectors participating in the growth of the new economy typically rely on digital and a digitally-savvy workforce for their expansion plans.
Digital skills are also synonymous with innovation and data analytics, as well as leading customer experience and social media engagements – which are listed as in-demand skills.
Jobs Market Going To Get Worse Before It Gets Better
Many employers are taking a cautious stance to hiring. Apart from just navigating a weak economy, businesses also have to manage onboarding employees remotely or without full support of its entire workforce in the office.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like things are going to get better any time quickly. In the recent Ministry of Manpower (MOM) Labour Market Advance Release 3Q2020, unemployment rates continued to rise – to 4.9% for Citizens and 3.6% for overall residents in Singapore.
For companies looking to hire and expand, it may not be straightforward to hire people as well. As mentioned, this may be a difficult time to hire even if you are looking.
The current downturn has resulted in many mid-career employees who will come with soft skills and working experience honed over years in the workforce. It’s not about taking a chance on an individual so much as identifying the right talent that will value-add to your company.
There are various government grants for businesses to tap on to bridge any skills gap potential employees will have. Some of these programmes include the Professional Conversion Programme (PCP), P-Max, Enhanced Training Support Package (ETSP), and many more.
Moreover, the government is also providing salary support for 12 months via the Jobs Growth Incentive (JGI)to encourage employers to bring forward hiring plans till February 2021.
Finally these employees will hopefully be loyal and have gained the required skills to supercharge your growth when the economy recovers.
Need Financing Support During This Period?
From now till 31 March 2021, SMEs can enjoy extra financing support of up to $5 million through the Temporary Bridging Loan Programme.
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