Experts discuss 'what makes a good worker' at The New York Times Global Forum Asia

JOBS were very much on people's minds at The New York Times Global Forum Asia - not only how to find one but how to hang on to it.

New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman told the one-day event at the Four Seasons Hotel that to stay employed, a person must stay hungry, curious, persist at a challenge and take as much pride in their work as artisans of old.

Remaining entrepreneurial and always thinking of how to give extra value to customers or employers is also important for jobs of tomorrow, he added.

Hewlett-Packard chief executive Meg Whitman told the forum, which was attended by about 250 executives, that she looked for new hires who can deal with ambiguity.

"There's no career path that's a straight line from A to B today. One must be able to synthesise information to make sense of all the information that is out there," she said.

Being able to make bets and take risks are two other qualities she said she would look for.

To be really innovative, Dr Andrew McAfee from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology suggested that Singaporeans should get "weird".

Tolerating weirdness, in the sense of being willing and able to "poke at the world and change it" is essential to remain competitive in the information age, said Dr McAfee, a principal research scientist at MIT.

"Weirdness" of that nature creates the sort of risk-taking and tolerance of risk that deep-pocket investors were most willing to bank on, he added.

The Straits Times was a partner of the event, which was organised by the New York Times.