Recently at the 2017 Budget Debate, NTUC Labour MP Patrick Tay pointed out 5 areas which will affect Singapore’s future:
Source: Vulcan Post
Tay brought up five suggestions and recommendations for Future Jobs, Future Skills and Future Training to help working professionals, especially the PMEs affected by structural unemployment with the advent of digitization, robotisation, mechanisation and the Internet of Things (IoT).
What role do Singaporeans play in a future that is increasingly being digitised?
Singapore is slowly catching up on recognising the importance of human resources as capital, not just digits. After all, a company’s (and nation’s) most valuable asset is still your people.
This is why Patrick Tay also advocated for the government to help companies fund training, leave for workers taking SkillsFuture programmes, and expand the SkillsFuture Credit to include career coaching services, such that workers can benefit through personalised guidance and coaching.
Tay further reminded employers to take care of their human resources, through redesigning jobs and encouraging active engagement to “embrace the change before the change embraces them”.
Yes, we can’t run away from technology
Technology is increasingly becoming an indispensable tool in the realm of managing our nation’s resources, including our human resources.
And one paradox of the 21st century is that, although we are living in a digital age where automation spurs efficiency, the infinite choices that we have, and the inertia to drop traditional methods and adopt technology, hinders this new-found efficiency (think Fujifilm vs Kodak).
It may seem like a daunting task, sifting through all the technological products and services out there. There is a fear that technology will not only replace human processes, but also humans as working people.
In his Budget 2017 speech, Labour MP Melvin Yong brought up this example of a Japanese man, 58-year-old Mr Kenji Takemura, who uses a wearable robot technology to help him lift 40kg boxes with less effort.
To ride the wave of disruption together, Melvin Yong provided solutions that Singapore businesses, government agencies and unions can collectively work on together, such as sectoral tripartite committees to redesign jobs, and develop industry-based roadmaps and training.
Yong also added that, the centralization and pooling of resources can help improve productivity by reducing wastage and duplication of resources, while helping companies gain economies of scale.
Technology isn’t a zero-sum game for humans
However, one thing to bear in mind is what makes people better than technology, is not our ability to always get things right – in fact, it is our fallibility – our ability to make mistakes – that drives us to constantly improve and better ourselves.
As American author Jim Collins said, “Great vision without great people is irrelevant.” So while there are many threats in the global economy and job markets today, and in the future, the question is, whether Singapore can leverage on technology such as HRTech, EduTech, FinTech and more, to help Singaporeans get the right skills faster, match the right people to right jobs (whether local or overseas) and create made-in-Singapore products and services, that the world needs and wants?
Allow your answers to flow, with comments and feedback. Let us know what you think, should be the approach for a Future-Ready Singapore.
Feature image credit: freedigitalphotos.net
Adrian Tan is the Operations Director at Ingeus Singapore, a global jobs placement provider. He started his HR journey with RecruitPlus, which he co-founded in 2004 and led to two HR Vendor of the Year award. He was named the HR Entrepreneur of the Year by SHRI in 2013 and is the co-author of the career guide book ‘Everything You Wish To Ask a Headhunter’. Before his current role, he was managing a HR consultancy business and a career coaching agency. Adrian writes often about HR Tech on his personal blog.