4 Important Changes Happening with Singapore’s Workforce and How You Can Adapt


    The digital revolution and evolving social norms have significantly changed the way we think about work. No longer confined within the four walls of an office, society seems to be more open to the concept of flexible work schedules, freelancing, and remote working.

    How exactly are these trends changing Singapore’s workforce and how can you adapt?

    1.   Shift from lifetime employment to non-permanent employment

    Technological advancements, economic restructuring and shorter business cycles have brought about this new employment shift, where lifelong jobs have been deconstructed into full-time, part-time, contract, project-based, task-based and micro task-based jobs.

    Similarly, the unbundling of these job functions into individual tasks allows professionals  greater control in designing their work arrangements, and integrating opportunities for learning (e.g. new skills, assimilation of knowledge).

    Employers on the other hand, can reap the benefits of a gig economy. They can reduce their operational costs by doing away with employee compensation benefits (e.g. housing loan, educational allowance, medical benefits) and sourcing reputable service providers with the most affordable rates. In addition, employers can quickly verify the output expected of these freelance workers.

    2.    Rise of the gig economy

    The phrase ‘gig economy’ was coined in early 2009, at the height of the global financial crisis. Due to unstable economic conditions, workers had to settle for short-term or part-time jobs in order to make ends meet.

    With the gig economy’s transition into the digital realm, professionals now have more options to enter into freelance work arrangements.

    Freelancing provides workers more flexibility in the use of their time and autonomy in charting their career path, which may lead to a better work-life balance. The downside is that freelancers face the risk of unstable income, lack of worker protection,  and dwindling wages.

    3.    Job-hopping

    Gone are the days when job-hopping was considered a telltale sign of professional incompetency. In this day and age, where industries continue to change and transform in leaps and bounds, workers transfer jobs regularly in order to keep their professional experience, skills, and knowledge up-to-date in their specific field.

    As a cultural phenomenon, job-hopping is common among millennial professionals who are always on the lookout for new career challenges and learning opportunities. Such workers can be assets to employers as they are able to contribute to the organisation with their extensive technical knowledge, relevant skills, and varied work experiences.   

    4.    Mid-career switch

    Singapore’s workforce is comprised of an increasing number of millennial employees. It is widespread among these workers to make mid-career switches as they give more value to new experiences, new learnings, and new challenges more than job tenure and a stable income.

    Mid-career switching is also prevalent among middle-aged professionals whose jobs have become obsolete as a result of technological advancements. These workers strive to remain relevant by learning new skills, seeking employment in their current industry or with their current employer, or they may transfer industries and perform totally different job functions.

    How Can You Adapt?

    As the lifespan of required core skills in the local and international job market becomes increasingly shorter, and as jobs continue to be redefined and deconstructed, Singaporean professionals need to future-proof themselves in order to avoid the threat of obsolescence.

    One of the ways to remain relevant in a constantly changing employment market, is to upgrade your skills and adopt an attitude of lifelong learning. Singaporeans can consider career and skills training conversion programmes from SkillsFuture Singapore and Workforce Singapore. These government statutory boards are tasked with retooling Singaporean professionals with the relevant skills and  knowledge to meet the changing demands of the various sectors of the Singapore economy. They also assist professionals in attaining their career aspirations and land meaningful employment.

    Want to upskill and remain relevant in your career? Visit http://www.kaplan.com.sg

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