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5 Key Skills For Career Advancement

Rapid digitalisation and technological innovation are transforming different sectors in Singapore, especially in the world of business.

With the rise of different disruptive technologies, changes in the workplace will be inevitable. In fact, a poll conducted by Employment Hero indicated that 7 out of 10 workers in Singapore and Malaysia feared that their jobs will be taken over by AI and other advanced technologies.

There’s no denying that some jobs in various industries will eventually become obsolete in a few years. However, this will also likely see the creation of new jobs that didn’t exist before. The situation is very much like how cars replaced the horse and buggy, and how we now have a lot of jobs revolving around the automotive industry.

The transition and creation of these new industries will not happen overnight though. In order to fulfill brand-new roles emerging from this latest industrial revolution, workers will need to undergo upskilling or retraining.

As it is, Singapore professionals are witnessing intense competition in the job market, making the pursuit of career advancement more challenging yet paramount than ever. It’s no longer simply an option to upgrade your skills in this digital era but a requirement.

For this reason, it’s important to be smart about the training courses you want to take. Here’s a guide for Singapore professionals seeking to level up in their careers.

Lifelong Learning Skills

Lifelong learning skills are immensely valuable to workers in Singapore who are seeking career advancement. By cultivating skills necessary for the pursuit of continuous learning, individuals can stay updated with industry trends while also acquiring new knowledge and adapting to evolving job requirements.

Skills like critical thinking and problem-solving, for example, enable workers to analyse complex situations, helping them make informed decisions and allowing them to be able to propose innovative solutions. Self-regulation and motivation are equally important, as they help individuals to set goals, manage their time efficiently, and persist in the face of difficulties. There are many other lifelong learning skills besides, and ultimately, these will help workers enhance their employability and career advancement prospects.

In Singapore, the government-led SkillsFuture initiative perfectly encapsulates this “never stop learning” ethos. Launched in 2014, this national lifelong learning programme aims to equip Singaporeans with the necessary skills and knowledge to adapt to the ever-changing global economy employment job landscape. Educational institutions that support this initiative offer SkillsFuture courses in Singapore that professionals will certainly find valuable.

Hard Skills

Building a strong foundation of hard skills specific to your industry is crucial. Digital literacy, in particular, has become a non-negotiable skill due to Singapore’s push towards becoming a smart nation. Mastery of English and Mandarin is also advantageous in this bilingual society, aiding in seamless communication with local and international clients. While these hard skills are quite generic, remember to hone specific skills unique to your field. For example, if you’re in finance, it could be data analysis; if you’re in tech, it could be programming languages.

Soft Skills

Equally important are soft skills—attributes that enhance interpersonal relationships and communication. Singapore’s melting pot of cultures demands multicultural competence, a skill enabling professionals to navigate diverse workplaces effectively. Effective communication, a trait valued highly everywhere, is also critical in this kiasu (competitive) culture where clarifying intent and motive can make a world of difference. Adaptability and emotional intelligence are also prized assets, helping professionals remain resilient amidst change while being able to empathise with colleagues.

Leadership Skills

As you climb the corporate ladder, leadership skills become increasingly important. Acquiring leadership-focused skills like strategic thinking, decision-making, and team management is vital in this endeavour. In Singapore’s often hierarchical work culture, in particular, leadership by example is highly valued. Leaders are expected to demonstrate the gotong royong spirit, a Malay term denoting mutual help and reciprocity. This approach can inspire team members to align their personal goals with the organisation’s vision.

Entrepreneurial Skills

Entrepreneurial skills are growing in significance in the evolving Singaporean business landscape. The rise of start-ups in the  Lion City underscores the need for innovation, business acumen, and risk-taking. Even if you’re not looking into starting or owning a business yourself, acquiring multi-faceted entrepreneurial skills can be valuable to any organisation.

As your career grows and your job responsibilities expand, skills that are associated with entrepreneurship become critical to your work. This is especially true when you take on leadership and executive-level roles. Skills such as networking and creative problem-solving become incredibly valuable in your work. Only then would you realise that it’s not a waste to learn entrepreneurial skills. Embrace the garang spirit (a term from Singlish denoting boldness) to innovate and drive change wherever you work.

To wrap up, career advancement in Singapore’s competitive professional landscape requires more than just hard work. It demands a combination of lifelong learning skills, hard skills, soft skills, leadership qualities, and entrepreneurial spirit. Enrich your work life by learning new and exciting ideas to make your job so much easier and impactful to your industry as well as the customers and clients you serve. Lastly, remember to jia you (keep going) on this journey of skill acquisition, and the fruits of success will undoubtedly be yours to savour.