Are We Prepared for Automation of the Work Force?

April 15, 20199:56 am424 views

Singapore, 5 March 2019 – With 1,200+ attendees, 70+ speakers, 120+ partners, and 25+ investors attending the inaugural edition, People Matters TechHR Singapore 2019 hastruly created a global platform to look forward to, for Talent leaders, HR practitioners, and entire people & work community.

“By 2030, 75 million to 375 million workers, or 3 to 14 percent of the global workforce, will need to switch occupational categories”, said Ester Martinez, CEO & Editor–in-Chief, People Matters at TechHR, Marina Bay Sands, Singapore.

Events like TechHR go a long way to improving skills in both human resources and talent acquisition. As People Matters CEO, Ester Martinez said, “We are living at a pivotal time of business and workforce transformation. The question today for business leaders is not about the ‘why’ or the ‘what’ but really about the ‘how’”.

Martinez wanted to bring the TechHR event to Singapore, because, as she said during her opening address, “How do we shift from ‘what’s required’ to ‘what’s possible?” To discover what is possible, she says, “The more diverse your network is, the wider your access”. Moreover, “What’s the biggest opportunity that technology can help unlock?” she asked. ‘Innovation’, ‘Productivity’, ‘Collaboration’, ‘Inclusion’, ‘Speed’, ‘Agility’, ‘Bring it to life’, called the audience.

“The power of conversing with each other,” Martinez said. “Today you have an opportunity, there’s a mobile lab to connect you.” She then urged participants to use TechHR as an opportunity to widen their network by bringing in diverse perspectives, deepen their network and, to experiment by getting out of their comfort zone.

At TechHR Singapore, the industry leaders discussed the role of technology in human resources, as well as how prepared the workforce is. During a very candid session, Rudy Karsan, Managing Partner of Karlani Capital and the founder of the human resources software, Kenexa, which he sold to IBM in 2012 for $1.3 billion, said that there are 8 massive waves coming to significantly change workforce innovation. “This is exciting. Our basic life is going to expand; our quality of life will improve.” Karsan believes that if you are “married to your job, and career advancement, and wealth expansion”, your future career prospects are in trouble. He said, “If you don’t solve the problem, there will be a rupture to society as we know it. The most valuable three drivers are our personal link to the job. You are not vulnerable now, not yet. But the more you sit, the more vulnerable you become”.

See also: Inability to Meet Evolving Customer Needs and Increasing Competition are Top Risks for Singapore SMEs: Aon Study

Another change is that employees are re-shaping how managers work and communicate. With the ability to communicate 24 hours a day, employers in Scandinavia and France are already being restricted to communicate with their employees only during office hours. Moreover, millennials at entry level today have no fear of senior managers. “Today you have someone at entry level who is booking my time and asking for career advice – someone who has been in the organisation for 9 months! They are looking for an organization that lets them seek guidance and that’s going to deliver a value proposition that will keep them interested, or they will leave,” said Duncan Hewett, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Asia Pacific and Japan for VMware.

“I think all these are trends that we’ve been seeing over the past several decades will change the way the leadership needs to work and they way companies need to think and behave with their employees, and to contribute, in order for us to make a success out of this world,” said Goh Swee Chin, the former Chairman of the Shell companies in Singapore.

Puneet Swani, Partner, Career Business Leader – International Region for Mercer, said “the future workforce will be composed of various employment models. Swani stated that only 2 in 5 employees believe their company has a compelling and differentiated value proposition and so the employment model needs to change significantly: the ‘model of Employee Value Proposition (EVP) needs to change to Talent Experience Value (TEV)’”.

Another speaker pro-change was William Tincup, President of RecruitingDaily, who gave a deep dive into ‘Confessions of an (Artificially) Intelligent Recruiter’. “To be able to use AI or bots we have to first embrace change. And not just embrace it, but fall in love with it, experiment with it and have faith in technology.” He was also a proponent of employees valuing experience. “You don’t need to be in the technology discussion but the experience discussion,” he said, “Experience is more important than technology, candidate experience, and employee experience. Technology is only a test that helps you get that experience.”

Underscoring ideas from both those speakers, Aileen Tan, Group CHRO at Singtel said, “Leveraging every opportunity to use digital for people operations and leveraging data to make informed people decisions is crucial to future-proofing your organizations.”

Besides wide range of contemporary topics, TechHR was designed to present an experience centred on networking & delegate’s learning. From the @ServiceNowAsia ‘Spin the wheel challenge’ to @BIWorldwide’s booth where attendees could share how they inspired their employees to build a thriving workplace culture to capture “Moments Of Inspiration” and can bring those to life; to a treasure hunt and an interactive photo wall, there were dozens of ways for delegates to experience the TechHR technology and network their way around the event.

Sameet Kaur Sidhar, Talent Acquisition Manager for the Experian Global Delivery Centre in Malaysia said that she attended TechHR to “Be more aware and have visibility to all this very new, very up-and-coming trends, startups, structures and processes that are being created, which day-today we are not exposed to. So, it’s really just to diversify a bit of our thinking and then hopefully bring it back and takes what first best”.

Craig Baker, a founder of an Australian startup,, said they were attracted to participate in TechHR Singapore because due to the attendee numbers, it was a good place to connect to the Asian marketplace. He said that exhibiting has been meaningful because, “We have made some good connections and met with some decent sized companies”.

Read next: Half of Large Companies in Singapore to Shift Their Financial Data to the Cloud

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