Feb 16, 2016

    Get ahead of future job challenges

    HERE today, gone by 2030. An Oxford Martin School study found that nearly half of the jobs in the United States could be at risk of computerisation.

    By 2030, more than 40 per cent of existing jobs could be gone because of accelerating computerisation, says the 2013 study which examined over 700 detailed occupation types, noting the types of tasks workers performed and the skills required.

    Jobs areas that are particularly susceptible to automation include transportation and logistics, office and administrative support, as well as industrial production.

    Consider, for example, how many people drive buses, taxis and trains.

    The technology for those vehicles to drive themselves has already been developed. Once that is implemented on a large scale, millions of people whose profession was to move vehicles from point A to point B will have outmoded skills.

    In Singapore, the Committee on the Future Economy (CFE), chaired by Minister for Finance Heng Swee Keat, is charting the nation's future economic pathways. The 30-member CFE comprises five sub-committees, including that of Future Jobs and Skills, which examines trends impacting the job landscape and recommends ways to prepare Singapore workers for the future.

    However, companies are not the only ones that must remodel themselves to gear up for the economy.

    Employees must too.

    Here are seven broad-picture ways to manage your career with an eye on the future.


    Study the trends that are shaping your industry and niche. Pay attention to what the experts are saying. Know your strengths and which skills are marketable. Take an assessment test if you have to.

    Map out a path to get to where you want to in your career, knowing that you will have to make changes as the work environment changes.


    Avoid the tyranny of being caught up in the tactical (urgent day-to-day duties) and missing out on the strategic (long-term planning).

    One of the strategic responsibilities is to ensure that you update your resume. Do this at least every three months.

    Be sure to include important projects you have worked on, the in-demand skills you have acquired and, importantly, targets you have achieved.


    Cultivate networks inside and outside your organisation - both online and offline.

    Find ways to be of service to the people in your network.

    It could be as simple as introducing them to each other or sending them articles and other information that are meaningful or valuable to them.

    Attend events to continually build and expand your base of contacts. When you hear of an event that is worth attending, pass on the information to people who might benefit from attending too. Let them know why you thought of them.


    If you are at the right level to do so, put your name out to speak at industry events and conferences. Apart from widening your network, this also enables you to build your personal brand.

    More importantly, speaking engagements cement yourself as an authority in the field.

    Consider hosting a "webinar" on your company's behalf. Such web-based seminars can help position your company as an expert in its field and yourself as an important employee who adds value to the organisation.


    Given that people expect to reach and be reached on multiple online platforms - from Twitter to LinkedIn - maintaining an active presence on social media is essential to building your brand. In fact, go a step further by creating a Facebook group, publishing interesting studies or reports on LinkedIn or hosting a Twitter chat.


    Read industry journals, blogs in your niche and industry as well as recruitment and career management sites.

    Or, set up Google Alerts on topics important to you.

    Every quarter, have a chat with industry experts and thought leaders to keep yourself up-to-date on trends.


    Given the changing world of work, employees must shift their mindset to take responsibility on how to manage their own career and create value for themselves and the company they work for.

    That said, the most critical skill for any employee is the ability to continuously learn.

    One can no longer expect job security based on tenure.

    When conditions change and the business needs new skill sets, having been there for 20 years will not matter.

    Rather, job security will come from your ability to adapt and acquire new skills. The new equation looks like this: continuous learning = agility and relevance.

    Therefore, adopt a mindset of continual learning with a view to developing portable capabilities. This not only affords you a sense of personal security in your current job but it also better prepares you for career uncertainties - or your next move in the marketplace.

    This article was contributed by career consultancy Right Management and recruitment company ManpowerGroup Singapore.