5 Things I learned at the U Future Leaders Summit 2017

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Singapore is moving towards a Smart Nation at an alarming rate, from robot cleaners, self-checkouts at supermarkets, cashless payment services to making all 110,000 lamp posts in Singapore an interconnected network of wireless sensors.

With the increase of automation when it comes to jobs, people might start panicking as their jobs might be taken away by robots in the not-so-distant future.

It’s definitely an unnerving thought that we may no longer be needed

I attended the U Future Leaders Summit 2017 on 10 November at Suntec Convention and Exhibition Centre and I must say the future looks promising even when I was surrounded by booths promoting various technologies that could potentially kill off mankind (lol, I am just joking).

What is the average working life of a 20-year-old?

How many jobs would an average person with a 50-60 year career life span go through?

NTUC Secretary-General, Mr Chan Chun Sing, raised the question of how many jobs participants thought an average person would go through in their career life span in the new economy.

The surprising answer – 10 jobs. This answer is vastly different from what the older generation experienced, where a person could stay in a job for a good 20-30 years.

With automation and disruption abound, the job landscape is evolving at an alarming rate, with workers having to stay on their toes and ahead of the curve.

Human-machine relationship

We were introduced to “Future” the robot, who could very well take over some parts of our job in the near (forgive my pun) future.

That said, Future the robot did need help from a fellow human as Future could not go up the stage on its own.

So instead of being intimidated by modern technology, we should find ways to leverage the human-machine relationship.

During one of the dialogue sessions, one panellist mentioned that machines might seem like they are taking away our jobs but that is not the case.

They are taking the robot out of the human, meaning they will be helping us perform repetitive tasks while we have more time to do higher order and more strategic work

It is not a rat race after all!

Technology creates new jobs

Technology isn’t going to take away our jobs.

In fact, they have provided us with new jobs over the past few years such as social media marketing, digital strategist, and YouTuber (this is a legit job btw).

Told you, technology isn’t all that bad! Now you just need to know how to play your cards right by keeping ahead of it!

The Three T’s

What are the three T’s, you might ask?

Well, let me spill the tea then!

Image: forums.marvelheroes.com

It stands for High-tech, High-touch and High-trust as mentioned by Jacqueline Poh, Chief Executive of GovTech.

If your current job falls under at least two of these categories, you’re on the right track.

High-tech jobs are your software developers where they create new technologies. Did you know that fresh grads who studied engineering get paid 10k as interns in Silicone Valley? For those who are eagerly waiting for your “O” level results, I guess it is time to check out some engineering courses.

High-touch jobs require a lot of empathy such as nurses, teachers, and councillors. These jobs will never die off; instead, technology will help to facilitate day to day tasks. I mean, I can’t imagine robotic councillors giving out life advice or offering compassion and warm kindness.

Lastly, high-trust jobs are those where people place a lot of trust in them. Robots might not be able to adequately grasp the complex human psyche to be able to function in such jobs properly.

If your current job falls under at least two of these categories, you’re on the right track. 😉

U Future Leaders Exchange (UFLX)

As you can tell, the work landscape is going through major changes and before you can even say “technology”, there is a new skill on the market that is waiting to be acquired.

NTUC Secretary-General, Mr Chan Chun Sing, mentioned that we take 10-15 years to prepare for our first job (doing through the rigours of school, taking up internships in the industry we’d like to join, etc). He then posed a question that resonated with me deeply, “But how are we preparing for our future career transitions?”

As the years pass, there will be new skills and technologies and we don’t have 10-15 years to prepare for our second or third jobs.

According to a quick survey that was done during the summit revealed that time, money and mindset are the three factors that hinder workers from making a quick and productive career transition.

Now there is a new program called the U Future Leaders Exchange (UFLX) by the Labour Movement which was introduced during the summit by Mr Chan Chun Sing.

This programme is made for employees who are strapped for time as the said program will offer unlimited access to networking events and bite-sized workshops that is pertinent to their careers.

So you won’t be trapped in 3-day intensive workshop only to realise that you have wasted your money and time.

These workshops are conducted after work

It is a subscription-based programme—$30 (NTUC Members), $50 (U Network Members) and $100 (public).

There are already more than 1,000 people on this programme’s soft run.

The best part is that you get to meet influential people from various industries and also meet kindred spirits that will help you career-wise.

For more information, click here.

This article was first published on goodyfeed.com in collaboration with the Labour Movement of Singapore.

Featured image: NTUC Membership Facebook