Panellists discuss job trends and highly sought after skills

At the recent The Straits Times & SkillsFuture Singapore Future of Work Forum, panellists shared their thoughts on job trends, as well as values and skills that are increasingly sought after. Panel speakers agreed that it is possible to carve out a career path based on experiences in and out of school, and not feel constrained by one’s discipline of study.

Besides hard skills, the panellists said that being open to learning and having soft skills such as communication and teamwork are also important. Other essential traits include being aware of one’s strengths and knowing what one needs to improve; the adaptability to operate in a “grey” world when there is no right or wrong judgements; being intellectually curious by asking the right kinds of questions; and having resilience to face the possibility of failure or picking up new skills.

While AI and big data are all the rage now, panellists emphasised that employers are also on the lookout for soft skills and workers who are open-minded. Software firm PlusMargin co-founder Viren Shetty said that you don’t need to be a tech person in today’s digital world, “you just need to be valuable and adaptable”. In addition, having a good digital profile, being able to articulate and present well in interviews, and networking skills are also important in securing jobs.

There have been many discussions about the career prospects of apprenticeships versus academic degrees in Singapore and around the globe. I think when deciding on either, the consideration should not be whether one is better than the other, but rather how the student will benefit given his inclination and aptitude.

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