Civil service change

A chance for non-grads to shine

The change in the way the civil service groups its officers ("Civil servants no longer grouped by education level"; Jan 5) is an important and progressive step.

I hope it inspires civil service organisations and their non-graduate officers to seize this opportunity for career development.

The reality, though, is that the odds are somewhat stacked against non-graduates.

Many people do judge others based on the schools they graduated from and the grades they received.

Also, there is some form of "old school" network, and there are few role models (at senior executive levels) for non-graduate officers to look up to.

For the recent change to be effective, organisations should make the optimisation of non-graduate employees a key goal.

Non-graduate officers should start investing in themselves, too. They should be curious, learn, and volunteer for assignments that can give them exposure and help them grow on the job.

There should be measurement tools to assess the progress and development of non-graduate officers, and these should be discussed by senior leadership with the same level of attention as with other employees.

Another initiative is to make sure that non-graduate officers enjoy the same opportunities as their graduate counterparts, including access to career management training, mentors and chances to participate in important projects that can showcase their performance and potential.

Non-graduate officers should start investing in themselves, too.

They should be curious, learn, and volunteer for assignments that can give them exposure and help them grow on the job.

David Wee Hock Leong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 07, 2017, with the headline 'A chance for non-grads to shine'. Print Edition | Subscribe