The Future is Here. Are you ready yet?

TL;DR – Better be ready.

Amidst globalisation, digitisation and technological advancements, the way we work is undergoing rapid changes. The way we will work in the coming years will be even more different. It goes without saying that the nature of careers available in the future will be very different from what it is today.

To get some insights of how the future of work will be like, we attended the “Future-Ready Careers Amid Global Transformation” seminar organised by NTUC.

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Esteemed speakers such as Dhananjay Misra, the HR Business Partner of APAC Sales at Google, and Vipul Chawla, Managing Director Pizza Hut Asia, shared their take on how to ready yourself for the future and the skills you’ll need to withstand the test of time. Participants of the seminar also had an interactive dialogue session with Minister Chan Chun Sing, Secretary-General of NTUC.

Google shares what skills are needed for the future

Dhananjay, HR Business Partner for APAC Sales at Google, emphasised the rapid pace that technology is changing. Now it takes half the time for any piece of new technology to reach 1 billion people than it used to. In 1995, only 35 million people used the Internet. Today, a mere 20 years later, 2.8 billion people are using the Internet. By 2025, more than 1 trillion devices will be connected through the Internet.

Dhananjay highlighted that as much as advances in technology benefit many people, they also pose threats for many others. Such rapid changes in technology will cause massive upheavals in the job market. Many jobs will be lost. But others will be created. What skills will be needed for the jobs of the future? Dhananjay told us that in Google, they see problem solving, creativity and the ability to innovate as the most important skills for the future.

Think about the ‘WHY’ more

Vipul, the Managing Director of Pizza Hut Asia, spoke along the same theme. Amidst the changing landscape, what we do and how we do things will constantly evolve. It is therefore most important to be focussed on “why” we do things. He talked about the “golden circle” and showed us this video:

I think that is an important lesson for us. Rather than focus on the “what” and “how”, which will change rapidly, it is important to constantly remind ourselves of the “why”. That will help us better navigate through the changing landscape and come up with better “what to do” and “how to do”.

So, what happens when NTUC asks ‘WHY’?

And that seems to be the approach that NTUC has taken. Traditionally, labour movements around the world would represent only the blue-collared workers, but not the Professionals, Managers and Executives (PMEs).

Why then does the NTUC, which is the labour movement of Singapore, want to do things for the PMEs?

Why does NTUC even exist in the first place?

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The Labour Chief explained that NTUC exists because Singapore believes that a close tripartite relationship between the government, unions and employers is the best way to help Singaporean employees succeed. And employees refer to anyone who draw a salary. Regardless of the level of the employee. Or as Minister Chan puts it,

“No matter whether you are blue collar, white collar, gold collar, no collar. So long as you draw a salary, receive a pay check. NTUC will take care of you.”

With this “why” in mind, NTUC has gone on to do some very strange things, which include organising activities like this one to future-proof the working people in Singapore. Even stranger things that NTUC has done includes organising bootcamps for freelancers and talks for startups. Why should NTUC care about freelancers, the self-employed and startups? Because the startups of today will determine what the jobs of tomorrow are.

Minister Chan used an interesting analogy.

NTUC is like Changi Airport.

It aims to provide excellent connectivity. Whether a Singaporean is just taking off in his career, or changing from one career to the next, NTUC wants to be able to help connect the Singaporean to the right job, training, opportunity. By organising seminars like the Future-Ready careers seminar and meeting with start-ups, NTUC can better connect Singaporeans with the right opportunities that the future has to offer.

All in, some interesting questions were asked and some pressing and sharp issues were raised over the two days of seminar. Minister Chan even shared personal tips on the 24-hour problem that all of us have.

The seminar was a useful reminder that we need to continue sharpening our saw. We should also find better ways of doing things. More importantly, we need to keep asking why we are doing what we are doing. Only by doing so can we thrive in the be ready for the careers of tomorrow today.

(Featured image via Singularityweblog.com)



Author: Jake Koh

Recovering sushi addict, I'm a man of mystery and power, whose power is exceeded only by his mystery.


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