Are we adequately preparing both current and future generation of workers for what's coming next?

An analysis of the latest PISA report (Programme for International Student Assessment) which assesses how 15 year olds in the OECD countries fare in science, mathematics and reading revealed that Singapore topped the list, in terms of working together – collaborative problem solving.

Increasingly, employers are looking for skills beyond what can be learnt in schools or colleges, these include “soft skills” such as teamwork and data analysis.

Indeed, the skill sets that were once highly essential in jobs across most sectors in the past (or even still in the present day) will gradually become obsolete as we move forward into the future.

In fact, jobs that exist today might be phased out tomorrow.

Hence, there is an urgent need to properly identify jobs prevalent in the future economy as well as the associated type of skills required for filling those jobs.

The World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs report 2016 stated that by 2020, one of the top three skills that workers will need is creativity.

In Singapore, the NTUC recently held its inaugural Future Jobs, Skills and Training Forum which saw attendees listening in on advice dispensed by the managing director of the Economic Development Board and panelists comprising distinguished individuals from corporate companies, labour movement and academia.

(Credit: Chan Chun Sing | Facebook)

One of the topics discussed during the forum concerned rapidly evolving job scopes and skills in today’s employment market.

The panelists agreed that workers need to develop soft skills such as problem-solving, adaptability and possessing a sufficiently open mind.

But how do you bridge the disparity between present competencies of workers and higher order abilities required of them in the future job landscape?

This is where training and lifelong learning come in.

NTUC Secretary General Chan Chun Sing explained during the forum that it hopes to “rework the entire adult learning process”.

He said that NTUC wants to develop timely “bite-sized training” modules where workers are able to retool themselves in a faster manner.

Change today is happening at a speed so much faster than previously, hence, there is a real need for the implementation of thoroughly efficient, shorter courses that allow workers to upgrade themselves within a shorter time.

Apart from that, perhaps businesses should also take the initiative to help their employees shape up, so that everyone remain relevant and viable.

Former chief executive of Infosys, Vishal Sikka, wrote in the Financial Times: “Organisations also need to make life-long learning resources available for employees to enhance skills development. Indeed, they should be required to dedicate a percentage of their annual revenue to reskilling staff.”

After all that’s said and done, are we adequately preparing both current and future generation of workers for what's coming next?

This article first appeared on Five Stars And A Moon. It is reproduced with permission.


Training International Youth Leaders for Tomorrow’s Unions

SIM graduate: I have been without a full time job for the past 2 years

How Can Parents Help Children Be Ready for Jobs That Don’t Even Exist Yet?