Economist advises expanding job scope

View technology as a tool, not as a threat to your job, says UOB chief economist Jimmy Koh.
View technology as a tool, not as a threat to your job, says UOB chief economist Jimmy Koh.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

Technology is redefining every business, and organisations as well as their employees have to adapt to it, said United Overseas Bank chief economist Jimmy Koh.

"Keep expanding (your) job scope. I keep challenging my team to grow vertically and laterally... Explore and uncover hidden potential. The fact of the matter is that we do not know how our current job will evolve, five to 10 years down the road," said Mr Koh, 44.

He cited as an example how he has expanded his role from being a macroeconomic foreign exchange research strategist in 2000 to his current role as managing director and head of research and investor relations.

Noting how computerisation has allowed "a multitude of information (to become) available at our fingertips", Mr Koh said that it is important "to identify the signals from the noise among the vast information that we have".

He added: "We have to sift through the raw and complex data and identify key points, which we will translate into insightful knowledge for our stakeholders."

An effective economist will have an edge over automated reports churned out by computers, which are driven by artificial intelligence.

The economist is able to simplify complex data and explain it simply in layman's terms to clients, Mr Koh explained.

He said technology should be seen as a tool to "obtain information, disseminate our research, and share our insights" with customers and not as a threat to the job of an economist or analyst.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 18, 2015, with the headline 'Economist advises expanding job scope'. Print Edition | Subscribe