Lim Swee Say: Adapt and Learn to Do Well in Future

Workers will have to adapt and constantly learn new skills as companies and the economy restructure, sometimes forced by disruptive technologies, shared Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say yesterday (14 Mar) at the annual Kent Ridge Ministerial Forum in the National University of Singapore.

Gone are the days where employees will be doing the same job for life, he added. In the future economy, workers will be required to pursue different careers throughout their working life. 

“You must be prepared that you might have to change from one career to another…even if you continue working for the same employer,” said Mr Lim, offering his advice on how workers can stay employed and do well. 

He cited the example of a company that was moving into advanced manufacturing and needed fewer engineers but more data scientists. Instead of retrenching them, the company offered to retrain the engineers and technicians into data scientists.

Under the Professional Conversion Programme, the Government gave funding for the engineers to be trained in data analytics. 

It was one of the ways the Government is helping Singaporeans adapt to changes, said Mr Lim, as he urged students to stay versatile while pursuing their passions. 

Mr Lim noted that the Singapore economy was undergoing rapid transformation, amid slower workforce growth and a push for greater productivity for the economy’s growth.

One way to overcome these “bottlenecks” in manpower and productivity is to adopt technology and automate.

This will produce good jobs but workers need to stay nimble and flexible, said Mr Lim.

When asked whether increased automation would displace jobs, Mr Lim said that adopting technology would help Singapore remain competitive by increasing productivity.

Source: “Swee Say: To do well in future, adapt and learn, adapt and learn”, The Straits Times, 15 March 2017.


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