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Speaking at a dialogue session at the U Future Leaders Summit, NTUC Secretary-General Mr Chan Chun Sing candidly mentioned that he has heard people raise concerns the last few weeks over global events such as Brexit and the US elections, while closer to home, there have been a fair share of issues to deal with.

Addressing a 1,200 person strong crowd made up of PMEs from a variety of industries, Mr Chan dished out several “tips” amidst the economic uncertainty.

Image Credit / NTUC Membership FB page
Image Credit: NTUC Membership FB page

Stay Calm, Focus On The Fundamentals

There might be many changes around the world but Singaporeans need to stay calm and focus on our fundamentals – namely Government, businesses and workers.

Mr Chan cautioned against getting too distracted by short-term changes and short-term numbers, and highlighted that it is important to understand how to respond to the fundamentals mentioned above, as that would be vital to helping Singapore maintain its competitiveness in the long run.

Takeaway: Think long-term

Stay Alert

Global changes in recent times have caused Singaporeans to become more aware of geo-political forces that have had an impact on our tiny red dot.

Mr Chan goes on to say that for Singapore, the greatest fear is that we start looking inward and get so absorbed with all the challenges we have internally, that we forgot our livelihood and future depends much more on the forces beyond us.

He then gave sage advice on the various forces (such as technological disruption) that affect us and how it provides both challenges and opportunities, depending on whether “we get our act together” and on which part of the value chain we want to be in.

 “The choice is ours. Destiny is within our control. And if anything, if any city or any country can get this right, we have every chance to get this right in Singapore because of our connectivity, because of our baseline education level, and because of our gumption to try. Circumstances don’t define us. Our response to circumstances define us.”

Takeaway: Be aware of what’s going on and turn obstacles into opportunities

Image Credit: NTUC
Image Credit: NTUC

Stay Relevant

Everyone likes to know and build on what we are good at, BUT concentrating only on that in the new economy will not get us very far.

Mr Chan further elaborated that despite being very good at something, if it is not relevant to the market, that person will still be out of a job. Instead, he alluded to training as the way forward, and that whether or not we make the time and effort to constantly upgrade was reflective of our attitude to life.

“Is training to be relevant to the market something we do when we have time or something we make time to do?”  

Mr Chan remarked that while there is value in the rigour of our existing compulsory education system, there needs to be a continuing education system to complement it.

Funds that NTUC is raising will go towards efforts working with academic institutions and industry partners to develop stackable “just-in-time” modules to meet the requirement of speed to market. NTUC will also leverage on the U Associate Network to help everyone “level up”.

Takeaway: Onus is on you to decide how important it is to upskill to be future ready  

Stay Ahead

Mr Chan stressed and importance for Singaporeans to stay ahead and took the opportunity to launch a very exciting programme – Innovation Exchange (IEX), that will be rolled out early next year.

The Innovation Exchange programme aims to help local professionals, managers and executives (PMEs) pick up new skills and keep abreast of market developments through field trips to labs of leading multinational corporations which would open up their labs for the first time to outsiders.

The line up so far are – Dentsu Aegis Network, DHL, Intel, MasterCard, Microsoft, Procter & Gamble and Unilever.

Takeway: Don’t reinvent the wheel, why not learn from the best

Image Credit: Google
Image Credit: Google


As someone still in the midst of climbing the corporate ladder, these messages are particularly poignant in an era with technological disruptions abound, fast-paced and ever-changing.

It’s no longer a paper qualification that would set you apart from the rest, but staying relevant through upskilling that would make you resilient.

While initiatives such as the Innovation Exchange (IEX) and Future Jobs, Skills and Training (FJST) are a step in the right direction to ready the workforce for jobs of the future, working people need to embrace the mindset of continuous learning and be proactive in their upskilling.

It’s only with the collective efforts of everyone that we can move forward in the future where it might not be all ‘gloom and doom’ after all.

This article was written by NTUC, who wants you to know that in spite of the bleak economic outlook currently, not all is doom and gloom.

Feature Image Credit: gov.sg

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© 2021 GRVTY Media Pte. Ltd.
(UEN 201431998C.)