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Technology and the Future of Jobs

13 Mar Technology and the Future of Jobs

Event Summary

How can workers keep pace with a rapidly-changing job market? As part of our Global Citizens Singapore (GCS) programme, and in the context of Singapore’s Budget 2017 and the Committee on the Future Economy (CFE) report, we organised a discussion on “Technology and the Future of Jobs”. The session was held at Google Asia Pacific HQ on 13 March 2017.

More photos from the session are available on Facebook.

What job roles and skills are in demand?

According to LinkedIn data from 2014 to 2016, Singapore’s growing industries aren’t just digital, they include wellness, fitness, sports, personal care, as well as family services. Meanwhile, outsourcing and offshoring, restaurants, and oil and gas, are seeing a decline, but even some telecommunications sub-sectors are being hit as the emphasis shifts from hardware to software.

LinkedIn also tracks the most sought-after roles and skills. “No surprise here, there are a lot of digital and technology-based roles, but at the same time, we also have compliance roles that are very much sought-after,” said Mr. Frank Koo, Head of Southeast Asia (Talent Solutions), LinkedIn. Other in-demand areas include corporate law and fiscal planning. Knowledge of public policy, international relations, foreign languages and areas like governance are also desirable.

As technology advances, there will be new jobs that are only starting to emerge, such as working with smart cars, alternative currencies and augmented reality. Even within industries, jobs will change, with tech jobs in particular requiring new knowledge.


Uberisation and the Sharing Economy

 The poster child for technological disruption is Uber. Singapore has only recently moved towards more regulation of Uber and other sharing economy firms like Airbnb. “It’s sort of a double-edged sword,” said Mr. Warren Tseng, General Manager, Uber Singapore. “While it’s good [that] we’re being recognised and validated as something here to stay, regulation needs to be done in a way that is supportive of the health of the marketplace.”


 A Freelance Workforce

Uber and its peers are also changing the nature of work. Many Uber drivers also hold other jobs. As a general trend, the workforce in many countries is generally becoming increasingly contigent, freelance, or contract-based. In the US, some 35% of the workforce falls in this category, and numbers are on the rise in China as well.


In the question-and-answer discussion, a recurring point was that we need to redefine what job security means. People no longer expect to work for the same company for decades. Instead, job security may mean having skills that can be widely deployed across a range of jobs or industries.

The problem is that it takes time for people to adapt. “It’s about learning new skills which are deeper, broader, and this takes time,” said Ms. Miranda Lee, Director, KPMG Advisory.

Initiatives such as SkillsFuture and the new Attach and Train scheme attempt to close this gap, but the mismatch remains a challenge. Even if a displaced worker goes through retraining and upskilling, he or she may still have difficulty finding a job, due to companies either being slow to recruit or still preferring younger and cheaper talent.

Before the session, we asked people to share their future career aspirations, but also their concerns about disruption. Concerns like cybersecurity were raised, but participants also highlighted issues like retirement and inequality. “There is a real mixture of anticipation, fear, and of course hope – that hope will be the way forward, driving us forward,” said Associate Professor Simon Tay, Chairman, SIIA, commenting on the responses from our event participants.

At the session, we also gave away prizes to four lucky winners in our Future Draw, with the prizes – including a book, collectables, and Uber credit – kindly provided by LinkedIn, Uber, KPMG and Google.

Global Citizens Singapore (GCS)

The session was part of the SIIA’s Global Citizens Singapore (GCS) programme, which explores the human and social dimensions of current international trends. “The more we champion a need for a global city, the more we realise that such a city really needs to be populated by global citizens,” said Mr Nicholas Fang, Executive Director, SIIA. We will be holding more of these discussions as part of our GCS series over the course of the year.

Event Synopsis

As the work place of today is increasingly digitalised, workers will need to acquire new skills and shift their mindsets to keep pace with the changing environment. It is important for both policy makers and the private sector to ensure their policies and measures provide adequate support to successfully navigate the shifting jobs market.

The SIIA’s Global Citizens Singapore evening talk will feature views on:

  • How will technological progress impact workers?
  • Which industries will be at risk of technological disruption and which areas will be emerging?
  • What can be done to ensure that workers and industries alike are prepared for the future?


Mr. Frank Koo, Head of Southeast Asia (Talent Solutions), LinkedIn
– Ms. Miranda Lee, Director, KPMG Advisory
Mr. Warren Tseng, General Manager, Uber Singapore

Mr. Nicholas Fang, Executive Director, SIIA

We welcome young professionals from diverse backgrounds for an inspiring evening of discussions. Participants will have a chance to engage with dynamic panellists, connect with like-minded people and share their perspectives on the issue.

Stay tuned for more details as we get closer to the date. But for now, we’d love to hear from you. Let us know what you think about the following three questions. Your views will be shared with our panel and will help shape the conversation.

1. What’s your dream job in the future?
2. What’s your biggest concern associated with technological progress?
3. What’s the new technology, business model or other innovation that you’re most excited about and/or look forward to?

Event Details

Date: Monday, 13th March 2017
Time: 6pm – 8:30pm (Registration starts at 6pm; Talk begins at 6:30pm)

Venue: Google Asia Pacific
70 Pasir Panjang Road
#03-71, Mapletree Business City
Singapore 117371

6:00pm  registration, networking and refreshments
6:45pm   the welcome chat
7:05pm   the conversation and Q&A
8:30pm   the future draw!

To register and to share your answers, please send us your name, organisation and designation to

*Admission is free and all young professionals are welcome to join.
**As seats are limited, only those registered will be allowed in. Please register your interest here by 9th March 2017. 


About the Global Citizens Singapore Programme

The Global Citizens Singapore (GCS) programme brings together young professionals, managers, executives and businessmen (PMEBs) to explore the human and social dimension of global affairs. GCS helps connect individuals to opportunities and find solutions to social challenges by fostering engagement and collaborative partnerships. We aim to gather and nurture a community of socially responsible individuals who will help build a sustainable future for our society.