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A Manager Told Us "I Thought I Was Only Going To Be Obsolete In 15 Years, I Didn't Know It Was Now"

Earlier this week, I had the chance to have a quick chat with one of our friends who is holding a marketing position for a luxury brand. Let’s call her Mary. While we were talking about the marketing industry as a whole, Mary asked me for some advice on digital marketing.

“Can you roughly give me the overview of what digital marketing is and what it means?”

“Oh wow it’s quite broad, how do I start? There’s Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Content Marketing, Instagram ads, influencer marketing, YouTube, so on and so forth.”

For a clearer picture, let me give you a bit of background on my friend Mary – she’s heading regional marketing for a luxury product, and throughout her career, she has been using traditional marketing channels such as print ads on luxury magazines, outdoor ad placements or through events catered for those in the upper class.

However, over the past few months, her boss has increasingly been pressuring her to understand the concept of digital marketing and for her to “implement digital strategy”. To her, digital marketing is a whole new world. It was something she had not equipped herself with, being so swarmed with work that she barely has enough time for her friends and family – let alone making extra time to upgrade her skills and keeping abreast of the latest trends.

To that, she told me, “I only expected myself to be obsolete in the job market in 15 more years, I didn’t know it’s this soon.”

The scary part? She’s only in her early 30s and is a good representative of the PME market in Singapore.

I told Mary, “Yup, there is actually no such thing as a digital strategy anymore, it’s now all about having strategies in a digital world.”

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The labour movement in Singapore, or more commonly known as the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), strives to takes care of all working people’s needs, including the ever-evolving needs of PMEs in Singapore. In general, professionals, managers and executives (PMEs) refer to workers who possess an education qualification that is a diploma or higher.

What most of us do not know about the labour movement in Singapore is that they are constantly working behind the scenes every day through various initiatives, focus groups, workshops and so on to help workers or PMEs in Singapore get through whatever challenges that they are facing – PMEs like Mary.

Mary is not alone. Other than professionals in the marketing industry, there are countless of other working professionals, especially middle aged PMEs, who are hit hard by the current economy downturn. Stories by mainstream media on how middle aged PMEs are unable to find jobs always go viral on social media, with netizens nodding their heads in agreement on how the job market can be unforgiving to those without the right skills.

“It’s very, very important you don’t lose that magic and to stay exceptional, we need a successful economy, we need hardworking and skilful workers, we need outstanding leadership.” – PM Lee Hsien Loong in his May Day Rally Speech 2015

Taking this into consideration, the Labour Movement in Singapore has also been disrupting itself recently to meet the changing needs of PMEs in Singapore, and has recently rebranded itself to being an Unusual Labour Movement.

Under the new direction, the Labour Movement has been expanding its services and grow their partner networks around Singapore to help the different working groups. Currently, there are about 31 U Associates and 5 Associates Programmes available.

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NTUC Secretary-General (SG) Chan Chun Sing, who is currently leading the Labour Movement, shared that the worker segments in Singapore have evolved beyond rank and file workers to now include professionals, managers and executives (PMEs), freelancers, mature workers, young workers, with some on part-time work and others on full-time arrangements.

People like my friend Mary are always looking for career development opportunities, training programmes, opportunities to network and opportunities to work beyond Singapore where they can be globally competitive. Recognising this, NTUC, which is at the heart of the Labour Movement, is actively working with a growing network of partners to help PMEs. One recent initiative championed by NTUC is the tie up with NTU, which sees the university setting up a new school offering courses to working adults.

Another thing that the NTUC is working on is the co-developing a network of auxiliary career coaches together with the Singapore Workforce Development Agency and NTUC’s e2i (Employment and Employability Institute). “These are people who are still in the industry, working in the jobs of today, or tomorrow, who can provide advice to people looking for jobs—both students and mid-career individuals. We think that this is much more effective,” shared SG Chan.

Hopefully these will be the initiatives that can help people like Mary, and we definitely will expect to hear more from the Labour Movement in Singapore.

 

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