With artificial intelligence (AI) on the rise, machines can now accomplish plenty of capabilities that they could not in the past. According to a poll by Monster.com, 35% of respondents fear that machines may one day take over their jobs, 23% are confident that machines will not replace them at work, and the remaining were undecided. Emerging technologies like AI and machine-learning applications are great as they free up manpower from routine and laborious work, enabling employees to focus on high-level strategic tasks.
While AI will not replace jobs completely, here are 5 factors in Singapore that are currently affecting the job market:
Singapore has seen low birth rates over the past decade, and is adopting a lean workforce to mitigate the declining number of local talent entering the workforce over the years. What this means for candidates is that they are increasingly expected to perform a wide variety of tasks, which may require them to be equipped with multiple skill sets. The SkillsFuture initiative was introduced to encourage lifelong learning, and provides enhanced support through subsidies for to mid-career candidates aged 40 and above, so as to help them upskill and remain competitive.
Emergence of the gig economy
With a greater desire for work life balance, the gig economy in Singapore is on the rise. While some fresh graduates may opt to take on contract roles due to challenges in seeking full-time employment, many are also embracing the gig economy as a way to dedicate more time to pursuing personal interests. The gig economy also serves as a quick fix for employers to fill the talent gap, without the financial commitment of employing someone full-time. Benefits of part-time and freelance employment may include higher than market rate salaries and the option to pursue projects based on personal preference.
Later retirement age
As Singapore adapts to cope with the country’s ageing population, retirement age has been set at 62 while re-employment age has recently risen from 65 to 67. While retirement age sets a minimum age to safeguard employees from being asked to retire any time prior, re-employment age mandates that employers are required to offer re-employment – should they fulfil certain criteria – to employees who wish to continue working after retirement up to a certain age. In addition, re-employment also gives elderly workers the choice to remain employed; a measure to keep active in their silver years..
Rising number of graduates
While the local workforce may be shrinking, the pool of graduates is on the rise. With plenty of fresh graduates seeking employment opportunities, degree qualifications alone can no longer guarantee employment. What new jobseekers can do to carve a competitive edge is to consider pursuing relevant internship opportunities or part-time work experiences, which could greatly enhance their employability by networking with the right people. Alternatively, consider leveraging personal interests like volunteer experiences, portfolios or even side projects to stand out.
Not all skills are in equal demand
As Singapore becomes increasingly plugged in to the digital future, so are the skills that are in demand. From data analytics and cyber security to software development, technical skills in programming and coding could help jobseekers better navigate today’s business landscape. However, soft skills like critical thinking, problem solving and motivational skills are evergreen, and will continue to be coveted by hiring managers.