In its final weekly job situation report for 2020, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said close to 60,000 jobseekers were placed into opportunities under the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package from April to October. However, there were still more than 120,000 jobs and training and attachment opportunities available, of which a majority were for long-term jobs.
Why were there so many unfulfilled jobs, especially during a time when unemployment is high?
The reason: skills mismatch. Many who were displaced could not find jobs in their industries, and did not have the skills to enter growing sectors.
Firstly, those with a background in F&B or aircraft engineering often found themselves disqualified for positions in growth sectors such as info-communication technology, healthcare and advanced manufacturing
Secondly, the large-scale adoption of digital advancements has left some jobless and under-qualified in its wake. This especially applies to senior workers, who may have been trained in methods and processes rendered obsolete by automation or analytical software.
So, how to prevent yourself from becoming another statistic in the MOM Job Reports, and one on the wrong side of the percentages? Start with:
- Seeking resources to upskill
According to a report by ManpowerGroup, 84% of companies planned to upskill employees in 2020 — a stark increase from 21% in 2011. Most of these are in digital areas such as workflow automation and data science, highly sought-after developer skills.
Think about the jobs you want to apply for and what skills you may need to gain an edge over other applicants. If you are thinking of switching industry, find out what are the basic qualifications needed to enter the market.
Then, you can proceed to considering a short introductory course, or a degree/masters in your chosen field. This commitment will keep you ahead of the competition and on top industry developments – the best place to be when looking for a position!
- Keeping an open mind
OCBC Bank chief economist Selena Ling has a piece of advice for displaced workers: “Being able to articulate how you would actually bring value-add to the job – that’s something school doesn’t teach you.”
In the same vein, don’t be limited by sector or position when job hunting. Instead, think of what you would like to do, or what a job means to you. You’ll be surprised at how broad the range of positions that fulfill those conditions – unique to yourself – may be!
- Networking broadly
Following from the preceding point, brushing up your social connections is a must in the job search of today. Get connected on LinkedIN, speak to friends and family, and keep your eyes open for potential contacts and positions.
We particularly recommend joining industry associations or industry groups on SNS. These associations often commission research to help members keep up with trends, and offer practical benefits including certification, conferences, webinars, networking events and job boards. Do consider joining one to stay current with your job skills.
- Don’t ignore the soft skills
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that “upskilling” means advanced blockchain certificates or extensive research into areas unknown – soft skills are vital to show your worth as well.
Not only are these skills highly-transferrable and often in-demand, they take a long time to learn effectively. Hence, being able to boast of good negotiation skills or an empathetic mindset shows years of perfecting the craft.
Prepare for the jobs of the future by embracing that same future – and you’ll find yourself ready to face whatever the world throws at you and come out on top!