Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam has come up with a new quotable quote:
“use technology rather than be used by technology”
He was speaking to a group of 550 Pre-University Institution students at the annual Pre-University Seminar on 30 May 2016.
In it, he said Singaporeans must “respond quickly and take advantage of technologies in order to create better jobs for Singaporeans”.
He said there is a need to use technology to enhance human abilities in every job to create satisfying jobs.
Indeed, the job market is on the cusp of change, as is the workforce.
DPM Tharman added that the job market of the future will be different given the way technology is advancing.
And he singled out a few jobs that will be in demand in the future job market:
- Data Scientists
- Software Engineers
- Healthcare Professionals
Conversely, he also said there will be less need for the following professions:
- Financial Planners
- Real Estate Agents
- Insurance Agents
These jobs, he said, will be less needed because technology will make it possible for customers, consumers to get what they want at a lower cost.
And this change seems to be coming sooner than later.
So what can Singaporeans do to stay at the top of the food chain?
Upgrade their skills.
And its not just a one-off upgrading or training. But a regular effort in upgrading to keep up to date with the relevant skills needed to keep abreast in the changing economy.
And technology is one thing that changes every one or two years, definitely some form of training or upgrading of skills is needed to keep workers’ skills relevant.
Now more than ever, access to continuing education and training is made easier. The government’s SkillsFuture initiatives is one way.
Another avenue is the NTUC’s collaboration with Nanyang Technological University (NTU) for what is termed as technology-enabled learning.
With the first-hand knowledge of what workers need, the NTUC can then match workers to the relevant courses for skills acquisition for the various industries.
This matching would be done by adjunct career coaches who are essentially workers from various sectors who have the current knowledge of what skills are required in their respective industries.
Of course, whether individual workers want to attend skills upgrading courses is still very much up to them.
“How we learn, how we develop our interests, how we develop ideas and entrepreneurships… It depends on us,” said DPM Tharman.