Other ways for workers to stay relevant

Mr Howie Lau How Sin, president of the Singapore Computer Society, has advised older and retrenched professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) to upgrade their skills and gain familiarity with IT ("Older PMETs must embrace technology to stay relevant"; May 25).

I would add that every worker must adopt a long-term career strategy by taking the following actions:

  • Decide your area of work early

Is it in sales and marketing (front office); analysis and control (middle office) or operations and support (back office)?

If the right job has not come along, one must be prepared to work in an interim one and make a switch when the right opportunity arises.

  • Expand your job scope

If you are an IT developer, upgrade your speaking and writing abilities and interpersonal skills to work towards becoming an IT business analyst or project manager.

Or, if you are a business and accounting graduate who is bored with your current operational and support role, upgrade your IT skills by attending courses in big data analysis and coding.

  • Change your mindset

If you are an accountant who is unhappy with the restricted scope of work in a multinational corporation, you could join a small and medium-sized enterprise, even on contract, for a role that will give you a chance to handle payroll and human resources processing. These skill sets could lead you to becoming a head of finance or internal auditor when the opportunity arises.

  • Recognise that additional qualifications may not help

By all means, go for a master's degree if it will help you in your job. But forget about it if all you want is leverage for a pay rise. Instead, think in terms of adding value to your organisation, such as ways to increase revenue, reduce cost or improve productivity.

  • Take a lesser job to feed your family or stay competitive.

Everyone wishes to have the best job or a better job, but being picky and staying jobless for more than a year could derail your long-term career goal as well as your retirement planning.

Lee Hock Hai